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The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde - Robert Louis Stevenson NEW

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The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde - Robert Louis Stevenson  NEW

The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde - Robert Louis Stevenson - New

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Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde is a novella written by the Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson and first published in 1886. It is about a London lawyer who investigates strange occurrences between his old friend, Dr. Henry Jekyll, and the misanthropic Mr. Edward Hyde. The work is known for its vivid portrayal of a split personality, split in the sense that within the same person there is both an apparently good and an evil personality each being quite distinct from each other.The novella's impact is such that it has become a part of the language with the very phrase "Jekyll and Hyde" coming to mean a person who is vastly different in moral character from one situation to the next.

Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde was an immediate success and one of Stevenson's best-selling works. Stage adaptations began in Boston and London within a year of its publication and it has gone on to inspire scores of major film and stage performances. Stevenson had long been interested in the idea of the duality of human nature and how to incorporate the interplay of good and evil into a story. While still a teenager, he developed a script for a play on Deacon Brodie, which he later reworked with the help of W. E. Henley and saw produced for the first time in 1882. In late 1884 he wrote the short story "Markheim," which he revised in 1885 for publication in a Christmas annual. One night in late September or early October of 1885, possibly while he was still revising "Markheim," Stevenson had a dream, and on wakening had the intuition for two or three scenes that would appear in the story. "In the small hours of one morning," says Mrs Stevenson, "I was awakened by cries of horror from Louis. Thinking he had a nightmare, I woke him. He said angrily, 'Why did you wake me? I was dreaming a fine bogey tale.' I had awakened him at the first transformation scene ..."

Lloyd Osbourne, Stevenson's stepson, remembers, "I don't believe that there was ever such a literary feat before as the writing of Dr. Jekyll. I remember the first reading as if it were yesterday. Louis came downstairs in a fever; read nearly half the book aloud; and then, while we were still gasping, he was away again, and busy writing. I doubt if the first draft took so long as three days". As was the custom, Mrs. Stevenson would read the draft and offer her criticisms in the margins. Louis was confined to bed at the time from a haemorrhage; therefore she left her comments with the manuscript and Louis in the bedroom. She said that in effect the story was really an allegory, but Louis was writing it as a story. After a while Louis called her back into the bedroom and pointed to a pile of ashes: he had burnt the manuscript in fear that he would try to salvage it, and in the process forcing himself to start over from nothing, writing an allegorical story as she had suggested. Scholars debate if she really burnt his manuscript or not. Other scholars suggest her criticism was not about allegory, but about inappropriate sexual content. Whatever the case, there is no direct factual evidence for the burning of the manuscript, but it remains an integral part of the history of the novella.

Stevenson re-wrote the story again in three to six days, with the help of a considerable quantity of cocaine.According to Osbourne, "The mere physical feat was tremendous; and instead of harming him, it roused and cheered him inexpressibly". He refined and continued to work on it for 4 to 6 weeks afterward. Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde was initially sold as a paperback for one shilling in the UK and one dollar in the U.S. Initially stores would not stock it until a review appeared in The Times, on 25 January 1886, giving it a favourable reception. Within the next six months close to forty thousand copies were sold. By 1901 it was estimated to have sold over 250,000 copies. Its success was probably due more to the "moral instincts of the public" than perception of its artistic merits; it was widely read by those who never otherwise read fiction, quoted in pulpit sermons and in religious papers

About the Author Robert Louis Stevenson

Robert Louis Balfour Stevenson , was a Scottish novelist, poet, essayist and travel writer. He was the man who "seemed to pick the right word up on the point of his pen, like a man playing spillikins", as G. K. Chesterton put it.Stevenson was greatly admired by many authors, including Jorge Luis Borges, Ernest Hemingway, Rudyard Kipling, Vladimir Nabokov, and J. M. Barrie. The next four years were spent mostly in travel and in search of a climate that would be more beneficial for his health. He made long and frequent trips to Fontainebleau, Barbizon, Grez, and Nemours, becoming a member of the artists' colonies there, as well as to Paris to visit galleries and the theatres. It was during this period he made most of his lasting friendships and met his future wife, Fanny Vandegrift Osbourne, an American who was 10 years his senior and married at the time. Among his friends were Sidney Colvin, his biographer and literary agent; William Ernest Henley, a collaborator in dramatic composition; Mrs. Sitwell, who helped him through a religious crisis; and Andrew Lang, Edmund Gosse, and Leslie Stephen, all writers and critics. He also made the journeys described in An Inland Voyage and Travels with a Donkey in the Cévennes. In addition, he wrote 20 or more articles and essays for various magazines. Although it seemed to his parents that he was wasting his time and being idle, in reality he was constantly studying to perfect his style of writing and broaden his knowledge of life, emerging as a man of letters.

Stevenson and Fanny Vandegrift Osbourne met at Grez in September, 1876. Although Stevenson shortly afterwards returned to Britain, Fanny apparently remained in his thoughts, and he wrote an essay "On falling in love" for the Cornhill Magazine. They met again early in 1877 and became lovers. Stevenson spent much of the following years with her and her children in France.Then, in August 1878, Fanny returned to her home in San Francisco, California. Stevenson at first remained in Europe, making the walking trip that would form the basis for Travels with a Donkey; but in August 1879, he set off to join her, against the advice of his friends and without notifying his parents. He took second class passage on the Devonian, in part to save money, but also to learn how others travelled and to increase the adventure of the journey. From New York City he travelled overland by train to California. He later wrote about the experience in The Amateur Emigrant. Although it was good experience for his literature, it broke his health, and he was near death when he arrived in Monterey. He was nursed back to health by some ranchers there. By December 1879 he had recovered his health enough to continue to San Francisco, where for several months he struggled "all alone on forty-five cents a day, and sometimes less, with quantities of hard work and many heavy thoughts," in an effort to support himself through his writing, but by the end of the winter his health was broken again, and he found himself at death's door. Vandegrift — now divorced and recovered from her own illness — came to Stevenson's bedside and nursed him to recovery. "After a while," he wrote, "my spirit got up again in a divine frenzy, and has since kicked and spurred my vile body forward with great emphasis and success." When his father heard of his condition he cabled him money to help him through this period.

In May, 1880, Robert Louis Stevenson married Fanny although, as he said, he was "a mere complication of cough and bones, much fitter for an emblem of mortality than a bridegroom." With his new wife and her son, Lloyd, he travelled north of San Francisco to Napa Valley, and spent a summer honeymoon at an abandoned mining camp on Mount Saint Helena. He wrote about this experience in The Silverado Squatters. He met Charles Warren Stoddard, co-editor of the Overland Monthly and author of South Sea Idylls, who urged Stevenson to travel to the south Pacific, an idea which would return to him many years later. In August 1880 he sailed with his family from New York back to Britain, and found his parents and his friend Sidney Colvin on the wharf at Liverpool, happy to see him return home. Gradually his new wife was able to patch up differences between father and son and make herself a part of the new family through her charm and wit.

For the next seven years, between 1880 and 1887, Robert Louis Stevenson searched in vain for a place of residence suitable to his state of health. He spent his summers at various places in Scotland and England, including Westbourne, Dorset, a residential area in Bournemouth. There he lived in a dwelling he renamed Skerryvore after a lighthouse, the tallest in Scotland, built by his uncle Alan Stevenson many years earlier. For his winters, he escaped to sunny France, and lived at Davos-Platz and the Chalet de Solitude at Hyeres, where, for a time, he enjoyed almost complete happiness. "I have so many things to make life sweet for me," he wrote, "it seems a pity I cannot have that other one thing — health. But though you will be angry to hear it, I believe, for myself at least, what is is best. I believed it all through my worst days, and I am not ashamed to profess it now."[32] In spite of his ill health he produced the bulk of his best known work: Treasure Island, his first widely popular book; Kidnapped; The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, the story which established his wider reputation; and two volumes of verse, A Child's Garden of Verses and Underwoods. At Skerryvore he gave a copy of Kidnapped to his dear friend and frequent visitor, Henry James.
Stevenson's "Cure Cottage" in Saranac Lake.

On the death of his father in 1887, Robert Louis Stevenson felt free to follow the advice of his physician to try a complete change of climate. He started with his mother and family for Colorado; but after landing in New York they decided to spend the winter at Saranac Lake, in the Adirondacks. During the intensely cold winter Stevenson wrote a number of his best essays, including Pulvis et Umbra, he began The Master of Ballantrae, and lightheartedly planned, for the following summer, a cruise to the southern Pacific Ocean. "The proudest moments of my life," he wrote, "have been passed in the stern-sheets of a boat with that romantic garment over my shoulders."

In June 1888, Robert Louis Stevenson chartered the yacht Casco and set sail with his family from San Francisco. The vessel "plowed her path of snow across the empty deep, far from all track of commerce, far from any hand of help." The salt sea air and thrill of adventure for a time restored his health; and for nearly three years he wandered the eastern and central Pacific, visiting important island groups, stopping for extended stays at the Hawaiian Islands where he became a good friend of King David Kalakaua, with whom Stevenson spent much time. Furthermore, Stevenson befriended the king's niece Princess Victoria Kaiulani, who was of Scottish heritage. He also spent time at the Gilbert Islands, Tahiti and the Samoan Islands. During this period he completed The Master of Ballantrae, composed two ballads based on the legends of the islanders, and wrote The Bottle Imp. The experience of these years is preserved in his various letters and in The South Seas. A second voyage on the Equator followed in 1889 with Lloyd Osbourne accompanying them.

It was also from this period that one particular open letter stands as testimony to his activism and indignation at the pettiness of such 'powers that be' as a Presbyterian minister in Honolulu named Rev. Dr. Hyde. During his time in the Hawaiian Islands, Stevenson had visited Molokai and the leper colony there, shortly after the demise of Father Damien. When Dr. Hyde wrote a letter to a fellow clergyman speaking ill of Father Damien, Robert Louis Stevenson wrote a scathing open letter of rebuke to Dr. Hyde. Soon afterwards in April 1890 Stevenson left Sydney on the Janet Nicoll and went on his third and final voyage among the South Seas islands.

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