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First published back in 1886 Stevenson’s novella has even given the language a saying in the phrase Jekyll and Hyde. The story itself is told in a multiple narrative form as the lawyer, Utterson pieces together what has happened. Although nowadays as the story is so famous and even those who have never read it before know what it is about, we forget when it was first published this was also a mystery, as the first readers would not immediately know that the two characters of Jekyll and Hyde were the same person.

A success on both sides of the Atlantic it is quite easy to see why as this is gothic, it is horror, for the first readers a mystery incorporating sensationalist themes, and also a morality tale as well as being allegorical. Its influence on popular culture cannot be overlooked as this story has been used and adapted into numerous other stories and ideas. What for Stevenson was an interest initially in personalities and then inspiration coming from what we now call dissociative identity disorder, which most of us know by its pervious label of multiple personality disorder, led to this fantastic novella being written.

As we see here Jekyll loves the freedom that Hyde gives him to a certain extent and I suspect that this is one reason why this has always remained a popular tale, after all we all lose our temper at times and we all have dark thoughts, and the idea of Hyde gives our imaginations a chance to run free on things that we could do if we didn’t follow our moral constraints.
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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.
This book will always be a classic. All around us we see good and bad being done by ourselves and others. And although it may not go towards explaining why such things occur, the story continues to conjure up philosophical questions which remain as relevant now as they were when first written.
If you have never read this novel, please do so. It is very different to how you may know this classic of horror.
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The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson.

The book is now 'in the public domain' which means a free download and it's well worth grabbing yourself a copy if only to familiarise yourself with the real story and compare how different it is to the film and TV versions. If you can get yourself past the obvious language and phrasing differences that are bound to occur in a story originally published in 1886 you are in for a real treat.

Stevenson created some great characters in his work and some of his best are here. From Mr Utterson the lawyer, a man who loves the theatre but hasn't been to one for twenty years, through to the '..troglodytic..' Mr Hyde who is just thoroughly unpleasant but; more man than monster.

Hugely entertaining and this download comprises the full version rather than a short story.
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The story goes that Robert Louis Stevenson wrote this novel in just two days, whilst sick with a fever. His wife, who was nursing him, read the completed manuscript and deciding it was rubbish - the deranged ramblings of a very ill man - she threw it onto the fire. Not to be deterred, her husband simply rewrote this story - in another two days.
We may be glad of Robert Louis Stevenson's perseverance, as this is a truly astounding novel. At the time it was first published, it was a shocking tale, but whilst modern readers will be familiar with the Jekyll and Hyde concept, they may still be captivated by the quality of the writing and the true horror drawn out in the author's words, which have a sinister quality that the countless film and television versions and variations over the years have failed to match.
This isn't just a horror story - it's a book about appearance and reality, and about our notions of who we are and how we are viewed by others. That's not to mention that old chestnut of good versus evil - but here, played out in two sides of the same person. Stevenson's fascinating ideas are brilliantly executed in this little masterpiece of a novel.
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on 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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on 5 February 2017
I recently read the 'Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde' book which was retold by Pauline Francis. This book is an integral part of the AQA English GCSE so I thought I'd borrow it from my local library and check it out. The story is very short and I managed to finish it in one day. I quite enjoyed reading the book. Having watched the film prior to reading the book, I sort of knew what to expect but the book and the film were actually quite different. The book was a nice easy read and seems to be aimed at younger audiences. The book is a classic. I liked the small illustrations in the book too. If you are looking for a book that's quick and easy to read, look no further! If this review was helpful, please click the thumbs up button - it really helps me out! :)
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on 9 March 2011
A great study aid. The audio is very well done and creates an appropriate atmosphere. Excellent for use in the class - it certainly beats me trying to read it! The notes are also excellent. Very thoughtful and incisive.
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The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" is assured a place in the history of horror fiction because it the literary classic that represents the archetype of the werewolf (the human with the monster hiding inside). Along with Mary Wollstonecraft's "Frankenstein" (the Thing Without a Name) and Bram Stoker's "Dracula" (the Vampire) Robert Louis Stevenson's novella is part of the gothic foundation of the modern horror story (there is really not a single ghost store of equal standing, although "The Turn of the Screw" by Henry James comes close). All have in common the fact that they promise to tell a story that might best be left untold, which, of course, is exactly the sort of story we want to hear.
Given that Stevenson was writing when the genre of horror fiction was not recognized as such, it is surprising that "The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" is cast in the form of a mystery novel. Stevenson invites his readers to try and get ahead of the story, to put the clues together and come to the conclusion. Today it is nearly impossible to pick up this story and not know the "secret," but if you think back to the late 19th-century when this story was written you can get a sense for how Stevenson used the biases and limitations of his readers to his advantage in keeping them from what we might consider to be an obvious conclusion.
More importantly, Stevenson is writing several decades before the writings of Sigmund Freud revolutionized the whole idea of human psychology. Yet we can certainly find evidence of the conscious and subconscious mind of which Freud would write. Stevenson reinforces this metaphor with the block of buildings that divides this particular part of London, with one side representing the civilized world of a respected physician and the other side the squalor of the world inhabited by an inhuman creature who gives in to his every earthly desire. The novella also speaks to the topic of evolution, with Hyde being described as "ape-like," reinforcing the idea that our most human attributes remove us ever further from the category of mere animal.
Of the three classic horror novels, "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" is the most accessible. Not only because of its shorter length, but also because its evil is more realistic, even in terms of our imagination. We might be unable to reanimate the dead or to become the walking dead, but we can certainly relate to the idea of unleashing the beast buried with us. Even if we could not, we can recognize the "werewolf" in the real world in the form of serial killers who try to show a civilized face to us in public. This is not to say that the novella is simplistic, for Stevenson offers a sophisticated narrative. If this is one of those literary you have never read because you already know the story, then you should take out an evening to sit down and finally get around to reading it.
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on 15 July 2014
A classic I just had to read.
Recently read, Dracula & The Invisible Man. This one just added a certain finesse to my book collection.

Though, like The Invisible Man, I would not consider this book to be a Horror. More of a tragedy.
A scientific experiment that at first seemed marvelous, turns sinister and ultimately leads to a dark downfall.
Though hard to read in some places, with the use of long lost english words and phrases, this book is still a short and sweet read.

The edition I read however had some strange changes.
Considering the author was Scottish, I found it odd that the words "Color" and "Ass" were used, as appose to what you'd expect from a Scotsman.

Overall a good read. An interesting and sad one in my view. But a good one at that.
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This is not a review of the story itself - I think there is enough information out there about that! This review is about the actual edition of the story.

I bought this off Amazon for £1.99 which I thought was a bargain - it IS, but be aware that the text is small and tightly packed onto the page. It is however well printed and perfectly readable as a result. I have seen a cheaper Puffin edition where the headache-inducing text was so cramped on the page that you had to really concentrate to stay on track - very off-putting to say the least!

The Jekyll and Hyde story takes up 50 pages of the 232 pages book and this edition also includes a short introduction, bibliography and some end notes if you are at all interested in these things. Overall I think this is a decent edition - it is a bargain but rest assured the quality is there and the pages are a good thickness and NOT like tissue paper! :)
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