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The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and Other Tales of Terror (Penguin Classics) [Paperback]

Robert Louis Stevenson
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
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Book Description

27 Feb 2003 Penguin Classics

His innovative thriller, as shocking now as when it was first published, the Penguin Classics edition of Robert Louis Stevenson's The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and Other Tales of Terror is edited with an introduction by Robert Mighall.

Published as a 'shilling shocker', Robert Louis Stevenson's dark psychological fantasy gave birth to the idea of the split personality. The story of respectable Dr Jekyll's strange association with the 'damnable young man' Edward Hyde; the hunt through fog-bound London for a killer; and the final revelation of Hyde's true identity is a chilling exploration of humanity's basest capacity for evil. The other stories in this volume also testify to Stevenson's inventiveness within the Gothic tradition: 'Olalla', a tale of vampirism and tainted family blood, and 'The Body Snatcher', a gruesome fictionalisation of the exploits of the notorious Burke and Hare.

This edition contains a critical introduction by Robert Mighall, which discusses class, criminality and the significance of the story's London setting. It also includes an essay on the scientific contexts of the novel and the development of the idea of the Jekyll-and-Hyde personality.

Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894) was born in Edinburgh, the son of a prosperous civil engineer. Although he began his career as an essayist and travel writer, the success of Treasure Island (1883) and Kidnapped (1886) established his reputation as a writer of tales of action and adventure. Stevenson's Calvinist upbringing lent him a preoccupation with predestination and a fascination with the presence of evil, themes he explored in The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1886), and The Master of Ballantrae (1893).

If you enjoyed The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, you might like The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner, by James Hogg, also available in Penguin Classics.

'Every bit as claustrophobic, creepy and chilling as when it first saw the light of day over a century ago'

Ian Rankin

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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; Rev Ed edition (27 Feb 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141439734
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141439730
  • Product Dimensions: 19.8 x 1.4 x 12.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,342 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-94) is the author of many works of fiction including Kidnapped, Treasure Island, The Weir of Hermiston, and poetry. Robert Mighall has edited The Picture of Dorian Gray for Penguin Classics and is the author of A Geography of Victorian Gothic Fiction (1999).

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

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant horror story - brilliant edition 4 Jan 2004
Before reading this edition, I had only ever encountered this classic stroy through versions on film. Years ago I saw the version with Michael Caine, and because of this I brought a lot of preconceptions to my reading of the novel. Having read this edition now, I am glad that I bought one with such a good introduction to the tale. The introduction opened my eyes to aspects of the novel that otherwise I would have missed.
The novel is very different to the story I remember from the film version. In the film a lot more attention is given to Jekyll. The novel however concentrates on the lawyer, Mr Utterson, who is a friend of Jekyll and fears that the evil Mr hyde is somehow blackmailing his friend. As the introduction explains, Mr Utterson feared that Mr Hyde may have been blackmailing Jekyll because of homosexual acts that they were involved in (something which apparently occurred at the time of the writing of the novel). Of course the truth is far worse than this assumption.
I think anyone is aware of the basic stroyline - that Jekyll makes up a potion which turns him into Hyde; a person who is amoral and evil, and who committs terrible acts. In a sense, it is quite a simple idea. But the meanings can be taken much further. For example, consider the idea that every single human being is essentially 'made up' of two such people - one who is capable of good, the other only capable of bad. Also, something which I could not help but think about while reading, is why would a good person want to unleash such a person into the world? So, following on from this, how 'good' was Jekyll in the first place? This is perhaps one downfall of the novel; the reason for him carrying out his experiment is not discussed in great lengths, so questions remain as to why he did such a thing to begin with.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Read it even if you think you know the story. 11 July 2006
The first time I sat my Junior Honours year at Aberdeen uni I signed up for a class on Scottish Lit. Among a few other titles this was one of the two that really blew me away. Stevenson wrote the piece in a few nights, the pace is cracking. It charts the fracturing of Henry Jekyll a talented and awkward young doctor. Upon creating a medical powder an ingredient is off and when testing the drug it transforms him into a distorted, twisted version of the man he once was.

Thematically exploring the repression of homosexuality and the dangers of drug use, the most interesting part of the story is its reaction to Darwin's (at the time mind-bending) theories of evolution and the symbolism Stevenson uses to make this point.

The book is modernist but easily appreciated by the reader, it's very short and despite Jekyll's transformations, pretty straight forward. Despite being set in London, my teacher pointed out the books Scottishness and that the London in the book has many similarities with Edinburgh.

The main reason I feel people should read this book is simply that everyone knows the story; it's so ingrained in pop culture. Yet the book itself is so horrifying and atmospheric that it is completely new to read.

The text in this version is clear and a good size. Definatly give it a go, it's rewarding read.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic 26 Oct 2005
By Jonny B
This novel is a classic! Robert Louis Stevenson (of Treasure Island fame) had a dream/nightmare, awoke and immediately wrote down the tale; this novel.
It is only around 85 pages long which is very short, this however is a brilliant thing because most novels are way to long, this can be read again and again in no time!
The story is set in a sinister/magical Victorian London and as most people are aware; it is a tale of dual personality. The good Doctor Henry Jekyll creates a serum to turn himself back and forth into the evil Edward Hyde, after a little time however he cannot get rid of Hyde!
If you love literature, real honest to goodness classic British literature and gothic horror set in the magical world of Victorian, foggy London, then read this!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stevenson's Dark Places! 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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars O. K. short story about strange but compelling ...
O.K. short story about strange but compelling situation.
Published 4 days ago by P.R. Pearce
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great book, recommended
Published 1 month ago by dave
5.0 out of 5 stars Jekyll and Hyde: The Original
I'd been going through a 'Jekyll and Hyde' phase after watching the musical, and felt I should read the original source material. I loved it. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Paul Reynolds
5.0 out of 5 stars AS Level English Exam
This was for my son who needed this book for his English exam. can't say he liked the book but did the job.
Published 4 months ago by Carjack
5.0 out of 5 stars complete
This book was brilliant quality and helped me to pass my English GCSE and help me get a perfect grade.
Published 5 months ago by Kimberley
4.0 out of 5 stars Everything as expected
The book was already used but it was good quality. Everything as expected, with some notes on the pages but they were useful.
Published 5 months ago by Mary
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing
Really really good book(s), and fantastic analysis at the start, great insight really helped regarding my dissertation! Would recommend to anybody!
Published 9 months ago by chebs
3.0 out of 5 stars Jekyll and Hyde
see above....see above.... and again, and agaim.....and again...don't like being forced to say more than I want to... what a pain your system is.
Published 10 months ago by E. Boyle
5.0 out of 5 stars excelent!
Fantastic read, inexpensive, delivered quickly highly recommend for anyone, although the packaging seemed excessive and could easily had been reduced to a suitable size
Published 12 months ago by alexanderbuck
5.0 out of 5 stars Remarkable
I'll admit it - I've deliberately avoided reading this book for years. I suppose it's entered folk-lore and spreads through thoughts and cultures still. Read more
Published 12 months ago by nigel p bird
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