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Beth Meacham, David Brin

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde - Vladimir Nabokov, Dan Chaon, Robert Louis Stevenson “I have become a monster! I must find a place where I can hide! That’s it! I shall call myself…” DUN-DUN-DUUUUN!!!
“Mr. Where-I-can!”


The above is paraphrased from a “Morecambe & Wise” Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde sketch, they don’t often make me laugh, but this one is gold!

Not so much "The Strange Case" as the "Overly Familiar Case". The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is one of those stories that practically everybody knows so few people bother to read the original text. The original [b: Frankenstein|18490|Frankenstein|Mary Shelley|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1381512375s/18490.jpg|4836639] and [b: Dracula|17245|Dracula|Bram Stoker|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1387151694s/17245.jpg|3165724] are also often neglected by readers for the same reason. This is a shame because these are great books and well worth reading, ([b: Frankenstein|18490|Frankenstein|Mary Shelley|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1381512375s/18490.jpg|4836639] is particularly beautifully written).

Clearly the inspiration for “Dr. Banner and Mr. Hulk”, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is, first and foremost, a damn fine horror story. If you ignore the fact that you already know all the plot points and just immerse yourself into Robert Louis Stevenson’s wonderfully atmospheric setting and prose. Imagine walking around a foggy London street in Victorian times, whistling some spooky tune, and suddenly — DUN-DUN-DUUUUN!!! — Mr. Hyde comes out of nowhere and whacks you on the head.

The theme of the duality of human nature is not exactly vague since it takes on a such a physical manifestation. However, Stevenson leaves you to draw your own conclusion of whether Jekyll’s theory is valid. The story is also an allegory and a cautionary tale for inebriation (or getting wasted), and yielding to temptation in general. “Just one more pint” and you may find yourself whacking people in foggy London.

Interestingly Dr. Jekyll is not as good a guy as many people may assume. The text clearly indicates that he is always up for a wild time, painting the town red, visiting houses of ill repute, and doing some serious S&M*. Besides, no decent gentleman is going to deliberately — and repeatedly — take drugs that turn him into a psychopath.

Anyway, do give The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde a read, it may be old hat, but it never goes out of fashion. Try it on for size!


Art by "MB-CG".
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* Not to be confused with M&S which is Marks & Spencer, where you can be fairly sure of non-mayhem.


Notes:
Cool quote:
"Will you be wise? will you be guided? will you suffer me to take this glass in my hand and to go forth from your house without further parley? or has the greed of curiosity too much command of you?"

Non-quote from the book: “Don’t make me angry, you wouldn’t like me when I’m angry!”

There are several audiobook versions of this book on Librivox, I chose the one read by David Barnes, as he sounds suitably English. The narration is a little bit of a monotone, but nice and clearly read, and it's free so I can't complain. Thank you Mr. Barnes!