Who wrote this book and when?

Robert Louis Stevenson in 1886. It was written after “Treasure Island.”

Has there been a film made from it?
Sooooo many of them. You’d have to check out the imdb to even come close to getting a full list of them all. There have also been comic books based on Jekyll/Hyde.

Who are the main characters?
The narrator, Mr. Utterson – a lawyer friend of Dr. Jekyll’s
Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde – a scientist intent on discovering a way to isolate the good half of his dual nature
Dr. Lanyon – a mutual friend of Jekyll and Utterson, Jekyll’s confidant
Sir Danvers Carew – a member of Parliament who is murdered
Poole – Dr. Jekyll’s butler

What’s it about?
We begin with a brief tale to introduce the narrator, Mr. Utterson. He is a lawyer and has recently helped his friend, Dr. Jekyll, draw up his will. Utterson is uneasy when Jekyll wills his entire fortune to a man named Mr. Hyde in the case of his disappearance. He becomes even more disturbed when he hears horrible stories concerning Hyde’s nature and activities; and distraught when he actually meets the villainous Mr. Hyde. Utterson comes to believe Jekyll being either muscled or blackmailed by Hyde and sets out to discover the connection between his moral friend Jekyll, the blackguard Hyde, and a brutal murder of one of the most beloved members of Parliament.

Why is this book a classic?
Because of it’s in depth look into the duality of man’s nature. It brings the phantasmagorical into a story which would be merely psychological – turning a text book tale into a horror story. This is probably the most famous of any story about man’s sin nature and what anyone off the street is hiding when it comes to his most basic instincts and desires.

Why should I read this book?
Because, oh gravy, it’s so good. I’ve hardly ever empathized more with a man than Dr. Henry Jekyll. It isn’t long, for you lightweights, and the plot moves at a clipping pace without being linear and traditional.

Has it won any awards?
No modern awards, no.

Favorite Quotes:
“There comes an end to all things; the most capacious measure is filled at last; and this brief condescension to my evil finally destroyed the balance of my soul. And yet I was not alarmed; the fall seemed natural, like a return to the old days before I had made my discovery.” p 114

Anything else?
Robert Louis Stevenson actually dreamed this story up, literally. He dreamed this plotline as a nightmare and right when it was getting good, his wife woke him up. He got angry with her and nearly a week later, had written and rewritten the story completely.

Dr. Jekyll is supposed to be pronounced “Jeek-uhll.” The book’s title was originally not intended to include a “The” at the beginning. Publishers added it later for grammatical correctness.

Personal Thoughts:
Alright, I’m just going to put it out there – I’m a Stevenson fan. He’s won me over. After “Treasure Island” I thought “Maybe it’s just a fluke work. Maybe the rest of his books are just bleh.” But I was wrong. This book is just as intriguing and enveloping as any of his other works. One of the amazing things about RLS’s work is that every one of them is singularly spectacular. He cannot be categorized as a writer. Some of his stories are whimsical, some terrifying, some depressing, and some adventursome. But all of ’em are worth a perusal if not a purchase for your personal library.

This novella in particular is not just entertaining but philosophical. Obviously, it explores the duality of man’s nature but beyond this, it postulates that any man, no matter how good he appears, would revert to something far more evil were he to take Jekyll’s potion. Which falls right in with my own beliefs of man’s inherent sin nature…

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