This is the sixth release in the Book.io Classics: Monster Editions. First published in 1886 by Robert Louis Stevenson, the book is a famous piece of English Literature and is considered to be a defining book of the gothic horror genre. The novella has had a lasting impact on culture, making the phrase “Jekyll and Hyde” used to describe people who are outwardly good, but hide dark secrets of their true nature.
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From Wikipedia: Stevenson had long been intrigued by the idea of how human personalities can reflect the interplay of good and evil. While still a teenager, he developed a script for a play about William Brodie, which he later reworked with the help of W. E. Henley and which was produced for the first time in 1882. In early 1884, he wrote the short story “Markheim”, which he revised in 1884 for publication in a Christmas annual. According to his essay “A Chapter on Dreams” (Scribner’s, Jan. 1888), he racked his brains for an idea for a story and had a dream, and upon waking had the intuition for two or three scenes that would appear in the story Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Biographer, Graham Balfour, quoted Stevenson’s wife, Fanny Stevenson:In the small hours of one morning,[…] I was awakened by cries of horror from Louis. Thinking he had a nightmare, I awakened 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, wrote: “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 though 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.”
Inspiration may also have come from the writer’s friendship with an Edinburgh-based French teacher, Eugene Chantrelle, who was convicted and executed for the murder of his wife in May 1878. Chantrelle, who had appeared to lead a normal life in the city, poisoned his wife with opium. According to author Jeremy Hodges, Stevenson was present throughout the trial and as “the evidence unfolded he found himself, like Dr. Jekyll, ‘aghast before the acts of Edward Hyde’.” Moreover, it was believed that the teacher had committed other murders both in France and Britain by poisoning his victims at supper parties with a “favourite dish of toasted cheese and opium”