The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson

(9.4/10)

Murder and monstrosity on the streets of Victorian London.

Nineteenth century London can be a very dangerous place. Beneath the prim and proper morals of Victorian society lurks a violent madman who emerges at night to commit the most cold-hearted of crimes. Nothing is known of him except his name: Mr Hyde.

Just who is this evil man? A lawyer and a doctor beginning their own investigation are shocked to find that Mr Hyde is an acquaintance of their respectable friend Dr Henry Jekyll. Worse still, Dr Jekyll is unwilling to listen to stories of Hyde’s chilling behaviour, and retreats into his laboratory work when confronted. But as the months turn to years and the violence turns to ruthless murder on London’s streets, Dr Jekyll is finally forced to confront the chaos, and to admit that he can no longer hide from Mr Hyde…

This short novel, or novella, whose full title is The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, was written by Scotsman Robert Louis Stevenson in 1886. It is one of his best-known books and has remained in the public imagination for well over a century; its sheer eeriness and brilliantly shocking twists have inspired numerous popular adaptations.

As would seem fitting for a tale as strange as this, Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde comes with a number of literary legends attached. One states that gruesome scenes from the story first appeared to Stevenson as nightmares. Another suggests that the impetuous author torched the first full draft after criticism from his wife. Neither myth may be true. The only certainty is that Stevenson’s book very cleverly captured the clear contradictions of Victorian society, demonstrating the awful consequences of keeping man’s natural animal instincts locked away beneath the strict ideas of ‘decency’. Jekyll and Hyde is a terrifying glimpse into the dark depths of the mind.

About the author
Robert Louis Stevenson was born in Edinburgh in 1850, into a family of famous lighthouse engineers. Robert soon realised that engineering was not for him; on trips with his father around the Scottish coast he instead discovered a love of adventures and stories, and by the age of twenty-one he decided to become a writer. His first books were accounts on his travels around Europe, but he later went on to write fiction, notably the children’s novel Treasure Island – featuring parrots, pirates and Long John Silver – and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, an early psychological thriller set in London.

Stevenson was a sickly child and health problems plagued him throughout his life. Hoping to find a climate that would ease his suffering, he spent periods living in Europe, America and the Pacific islands. These voyages influenced his imagination and gave him a particular interest in strange lands and the strangeness – and frailty – of human life.

Stevenson was popular in his day but criticised by early twentieth century authors for writing money-spinning commercial fiction. He has since been acknowledged as on of the great authors of English literature. He died in 1894 in Samoa, where he and his wife and stepson had finally made a home.

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7 positive reader review(s) for The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde

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The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde reader reviews

from England

It is rubbish and I think it is really offensive to scientists.

from UK

Make me realized how stupid I can be, even though I've watched and read many adaptation of the novels I did not guess the truth until almost the end of the book.

from Japan

Awesome book and a total must read! It makes you feel like you have a double and it is awesome! Loved it!

from Bangladesh

Very poor book, the execution of the final act is horrendous. Over here in Bangladesh we torch books as bad as this. Would really recommend reading Gone Girl as it provides a demeanor that this book constantly tries to grasp. Save 2 hours of your life.

from America

Literally this book was awesome... once u start reading u can't stoptill u r at the end.... loved it :)..... i m a big fan of this book...

from India

Awesome book. Do I have a double inside me? Maybe. Review was outstanding.

from Estonia

It was good.

from Pakistan

Really cool book, loved doing the book review.

from Winchester

A novella that explores the deep and dark recesses of the human psyche - brilliant.

from Australia

I read this for my poetry course. Enjoyed it, it makes you think whether we all have a double inside us, just waiting to be released. Great book.

8.1/10 from 11 reviews

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