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Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and Other Tales (Oxford World's Classics) [Paperback]

Robert Louis Stevenson , Roger Luckhurst
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
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Book Description

8 May 2008 Oxford World's Classics
'Instantly the spirit of hell awoke in me and raged...I was suddenly struck through the heart by a cold thrill of terror.'

Stevenson's short novel, published in 1886, became an instant classic. It was a Gothic horror that originated in a feverish nightmare, whose hallucinatory setting in the murky back streets of London gripped a nation mesmerized by crime and violence. The respectable doctor's mysterious relationship with his disreputable associate is finally revealed in one of the most original and thrilling endings in English literature.

In addition to Jekyll and Hyde, this edition also includes a number of short stories and essays written by Stevenson in the 1880s, minor masterpieces of fiction and comment: 'The Body Snatcher', 'Markheim', and 'Olalla' feature grave-robbing, a sinister double, and degeneracy, while 'A Chapter on Dreams' and 'A Gossip on Romance' discuss artistic creation and the 'romance' form. Appendixes provide extracts from contemporary writings on personality disorder, which set Stevenson's tale in its full historical context.
ABOUT THE SERIES: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the widest range of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, helpful notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford (8 May 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199536228
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199536221
  • Product Dimensions: 19.3 x 12.7 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 14,384 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

Robert Louis Stevenson was born in Edinburgh in 1850. The son of a prosperous civil engineer, he was expected to follow the family profession, but was allowed to study law at Edinburgh University. Stevenson reacted strongly against the Presbyterian respectability of the city's professional classes and this led to painful clashes with his parents. In his early twenties he became afflicted with a severe respiratory illness from which he was to suffer for the rest of his life; it was at this time that he determined to become a professional writer. The effects of the often harsh Scottish climate on his poor health forced him to spend long periods abroad. After a great deal of travelling he eventually settled in Samoa, where he died on 3 December 1894.

Stevenson's Calvinistic upbringing gave him a preoccupation with pre-destination and a fascination with the presence of evil. In Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde he explores the darker side of the human psyche, and the character of the Master in The Master of Ballantrae (1889) was intended to be 'all I know of the Devil'. Stevenson is well known for his novels of historical adventure, including Treasure Island (1883), Kidnapped (1886) and Catriona (1893). As Walter Allen comments in The English Novel, 'His rediscovery of the art of narrative, of conscious and cunning calculation in telling a story so that the maximum effect of clarity and suspense is achieved, meant the birth of the novel of action as we know it.' But these works also reveal his knowledge and feeling for the Scottish cultural past. During the last years of his life Stevenson's creative range developed considerably, and The Beach of Falesá brought to fiction the kind of scene now associated with Conrad and Maugham. At the time of his death Robert Louis Stevenson was working on his unfinished masterpiece, Weir of Hermiston. He also wrote works of non-fiction, notably his descriptive and historical books on the South Seas area, A Footnote to History (1892) and In the South Seas (1896), as well as his celebrated defence of Father Damien, the Belgian priest who devoted his life to caring for lepers, in Father Damien; an open letter to the Reverend Hyde of Honolulu (1890).

Product Description


The best edition of Stevenson's supernatural fiction so far. The texts are very well edited, the notes are significant and unobtrusive for the average reader, and the appendices provide the perfect complementation for Stevenson's narratives of the uncanny. Roger Luckhurst's introduction is fascinating. A must. (Dr. Antonio Ballesteros-González, Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha)

About the Author

Roger Luckhurst is Senior Lecturer in English at Birbeck College, University of London. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
MR UTTERSON the lawyer was a man of a rugged countenance, that was never lighted by a smile; cold, scanty and embarrassed in discourse; backward in sentiment; lean, long, dusty, dreary and yet somehow lovable. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
I recently watched bits and pieces of a program on TV entitled "Great Scots," which quite obviously took a look at the famous Scots throughout history and modern times and how they contributed to society. I realized that I hadn't read all that many Scottish authors, and considering I'll now be living in Scotland for the rest of my life, I settled down to reading some good Scottish literature.

I've read Treasure Island, but that was back when I was 13, so it'd been quite some time. Most people know the premise of the story. Robert Louis Stevenson evidently came up with the idea for this story in an opium-induced haze. A London lawyer notices that his friend Henry Jekyll has been acting very odd lately and decides to investigate him and the bizarre Edward Hyde. He eventually realizes that they are the one and the same due to a potion that Jekyll drinks and splits himself into a fundamentally "good" person and a fundamentally "bad" person. It is an extended allegory on the dual nature of man, and it is a theme that has been revisited over and over again in literature. The saying of someone being a bit of a "Jekyll and Hyde" is still regularly used today.

The writing flowed well and my attention was kept throughout the novella. It was a good, short, read. Is it my favourite classic novel of all time? No, but all the same I'm glad I finally got around to reading it. This edition had clear print and I liked the cover (for some reason this book has a lot of awful covers).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stevenson's Dark Corners! 27 Nov 2007
'You must suffer me to go my own dark way. I have brought on myself a punishment and a danger that I can't name.' (Dr Jekyll)

Stevenson's remarkable novel explores the 'other' face of Victorian respectability, the underbelly of a society 'profoundly committed to the duplicity of life.'
The setting of novel lends itself to horror. We are in London, a filthy degraded place, full of labyrinthine streets. We are blinded by fog, searching for a 'creature' who evades detection at every turn. We wander the streets with 'gentlemen' who have a pronounced predilection for night walks and alley ways and speak in 'masculine' codes. Their nightly Insomnia suggests sexual restlessness and with no women in sight, and lots of male friendships, this fin-de-siecle text rather suggests the unlawfulness of homosexual desire.

Then we abruptly encounter the inhuman figure of 'Mr Hyde' as he stamps maliciously on a helpless child. This transgression of any residue of civilised behaviour catapults the novel into horror where it lingers for the rest of the narrative. We spend time gazing at a 'blistered and distained door' through which the unspeakable Hyde makes his way and we metaphorically lose our respectable ways!

Ironically for a novel written by Robert Louis Stevenson, 'Tusitala', 'a teller of tales' the tale refuses to be told. This is because the narrative is initially dependent upon the voice of the unprepossessing Utterson, ironically a man who fails to utter anything in terms of personal disclosure or revelation. This secrecy is then reinforced by other restrictive narrative viewpoints, thus confining the 'secret' of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde to conjecture - the strait jacket of Victorian repression. (And yes, there is a joke in there!
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By bernie VINE VOICE
Atty. Mr. Utterson is worried, as the keeper of Dr Henry Jekyll's will. The will gives everything to Edward Hyde incase of Henry's death or disappearance. Mr. Utterson met the hideous Hyde once and does not trust him. Well it looks like Henry's will will have to be executed as the housekeeper; Mr. Pool thinks Hyde hid Henry's body.

Once again, I saw Spencer Tracy before I read the book, so I was anticipating a different type of story. I read "Treasure Island" so I am familiar with Stevenson's writing style but I did not realize that this story was more of a mystery that draws the conclusion and revelation in the end. The explanation of man and his duel personality is excellent and I suspect he draws on personal experience.

I also read the kindle version. It was sparse and strait forward; there was not a lot of fluff and speculation from other personalities. I made sure that the text-to speech was activated before purchasing. This helped but I had to keep reminding myself that the names were mispronounced.

Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde Double Feature (1932/1941)
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5.0 out of 5 stars Very useful and affordable 25 Feb 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
It's a tale everyone 'knows' but few seem to have had the time to actually read. This edition is perfect for students, as it has a very readable and informative introduction, along with the addition of a few of Stevenson's other short stories. The quality of the book packs no punches, but that's fine, as it's meant to be something light you can carry around with your mountain of other literature. As far as the story goes; it seems simple yet thought provoking, not nearly as clear cut as one might imagine, shrouding a small host of hinted themes relavant to its time. A modern reader cannot help but be chilled at the surreal London setting, the blunt storytelling, and possibly one of the best descriptions of evil I have ever come across.
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