Title: Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde and Other Strange Tales
Author: Robert Louis Stevenson
In: Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde and Other Strange Tales (Robert Louis Stevenson)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Classics, Short story collections
Publisher: Kingsford Editions
5th sentence, 74th page: Who is this Wolfe Macfarlane?
‘… losing hold of my original and better self, and becoming slowly incorporated with my second and worse.’
Victorian London is the setting for The Strange Case of Doctor Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1886), Stevenson’s famous story of conflict between dual personalities: one good, and one ruthlessly evil. Other eerie tales in the volume are: The Body Snatcher (1881) inspired by the case of Burke and Hare; Markheim (1885) where a murderer meets a sinister smiling stranger; and The Bottle Imp (1893) in which an imp has the dubious power to grant the onwer’s every wish; also, The Weir of Hermiston (1896), an unfinished romance.
This was my first introduction to Robert Louis Stevenson. I bought it a while ago, because I wanted to read some classics and feel cultured. It proceeded to collect dust on my shelf while I pursued other obsessions. But, after reading this, I must say, I think I waited too long. Although sometimes the writing was a bit more convoluted than I am used to, and I often had to pause and reread aspects of the story to wrap my head firmly around the wording, I enjoyed every moment of it. And yes, I feel like I expanded on my cultural understanding and knowledge (a fallacy I am sure).
I was impressed by the many nuances and styles which Stevenson employed in these five tales. Of course, I had heard of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and was reading this work simply for that recognition. But, as the tales unfolded and the variety of ways in which Stevenson could write came to light, I found that I was enjoying myself more and more. The symbolism and meanings throughout the writing have left me feeling like I probably missed something crucial at one point, but it’s also given me an appreciation for a series of stories that I will be able to read again and again and again, discovering something new with every page turn.
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