Book Review: Dr jekyll and Mr Hyde

Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde: A Norton Critical EditionStrange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde: A Norton Critical Edition by Robert Louis Stevenson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book remains one of my favorites for the sheer reason of Dr. Jekyll a man so consumed with using science to rid himself of immorality, that he in-turn becomes a victim to his own vanity. The epistolary verse of the writing and the fact that we see the mystery unfold through the eyes of Mr. Utterson is provocative and suspenseful. Also the idea of sin corrupting ones body is nothing new, The Scarlet Letter, but the description without a description is alluring and echoed in Spielberg’s classic maritime adventure. Besides anytime a character is described as, “a man with the signature of Satan on his face,” or one who is “alone in the ranks of mankind, as pure evil,” there is something to entice.

I first read this edition as part of my Brit Lit class in the Spring of 2009. It wasn’t my first time with the story and has certainly not been my last. In all, the story included is a total of 63 pages with footnotes. For any teacher looking to use this as a reading, pick this edition because Stevenson’s language is tough (Lexille 1110), but the information about slang and uncommon words is a great add-on for any reader. Additionally the +150pages of materials include book responses from the time, publication changes, and modern commentaries.

The most insightful selections of these resources would have to be RL Stevenson’s comments on the Penny Press, his letters to friends about writing, his short story Markheim and the literary Doubles commentaries. Katherine Linehan includes her work as the last critical essay but Brantlinger’s comments on mass literacy are more inline with my views of the story as a religious allegory and Gothic tale of personal remorse.

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