Whenever you’re with me, Make sure it’s still me: “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde”

Avatar

Rufus F.

Rufus is an American curmudgeon in Canada. He has a PhD in History, sings in a garage rock band, and does a bunch of other stuff.

Related Post Roulette

8 Responses

  1. Avatar greginak says:

    I’ll give a shout to the BBC “sequel” to the book, Jekyll, done in 2006. It was a 6 episode series by Steven Moffat who is now the show runner for Dr. Who. Very creepy at times, intense and involving. It takes the original story and runs with it in a wild manner. Highly recommended. As with anything, it seems, involving Steven Moffat some things at the end don’t quite add up and his plots seems like 20 pounds of plot in a 10 pound bag, but still worthwhile.Report

  2. Avatar Glyph says:

    Good writeup, Rufus! I haven’t read this since I was a kid, but now I want to re-read it.

    This:

    Here, Stevenson breaks away from the Gothic genre sharply by setting the story in the present and avoiding the supernatural altogether.

    Makes me think of Frankenstein, which also is a “gothic” novel that applies a “scientific” veneer (galvanism) to old superstitions (necromancy/golem-fashioning), and makes me believe that Jekyll basically does the same for the werewolf.

    The transformation from Jekyll to Hyde is explained through drugs and chemicals. Stevenson is also somewhat ahead of his time in seeing identity as chemically constituted.

    This makes me wonder where exactly opium was, culturally, at that time in England. It had certainly been in vogue amongst the creative classes decades earlier, but by this time were there many “depraved/average-English-joe” addicts in the streets? Would Hyde have been seen as a clear addiction metaphor at that time?Report

  3. Avatar Mike Schilling says:

    There are some ideas so compelling that the stories that embody them become classics, regardless of their merit qua story. The duality of Jekyll/Hyde is one. Sherlock Holmes as perfectly rational detective genius is another, even though Conan Doyle was pretty meh as a writer. The Count of Monte Cristo will always be the most famous story of revenge, no matter how much it meanders and contradicts itself. (Vg’f fvzcyl abg cbffvoyr gung gur Sreanaq gur cbbe svfurezna pbhyq orpbzr n pbhag naq n trareny .)

    Another thought: Breaking Bad is the story of a Jekyll who thought he could have only the good parts of being Hyde.Report

    • Avatar Rufus F. says:

      I haven’t ventured into the clammy adjective-dripping caverns of Lovecraft in some time, but I recall the writing being… well, really goofy. I keep thinking either I misjudged him or people like him so much because of the ideas he expressed.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        I consistently make fun of Lovecraft for stuff like the maddening geometry (the angles! They’re all wrong!) and use of really dumb adjectives like “squamous” but he tapped into something really fascinating in his stories anyway.

        The whole “if you really knew what was going on, you’d go nuts” thing can make for a great story.

        If you’ve got an evening to kill, check out the 2005 fan-made Call of Cthulhu movie. You might be surprised by it.

        Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

        I don’t much care for Lovecraft, though here’s a Neil Gaiman tribute to him that I adore.Report