The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (Great Illustrated Classics) Review
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Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde have a place in English language that is second to none. Lots of people refer to Mr. Hyde without very much reference to where it came from originally.

This version is not the classic edition from Robert Louis Stevenson, but rather an edited and illustrated version suitable for school children and even lit majors who don't want to read classics.

This from the original:

”Two doors from one corner, on the left hand going east, the line was broken by the entry of a court; and just at that point, a certain sinister block of building thrust forward its gable on the street. It was two storeys high; showed no window, nothing but a door on the lower storey and a blind forehead of discoloured wall on the upper; and bore in every feature the marks of prolonged and sordid negligence. The door, which was equipped with neither bell nor knocker, was blistered and distained. Tramps slouched into the recess and struck matches on the panels; children kept shop upon the steps; the schoolboy had tried his knife on the mouldings; and for close on a generation, no one had appeared to drive away these random visitors or to repair their ravages.”

This from the version I read:

”...the scarred, weatherbeated door...It belonged to a two-story building that was one of several built aaround a courtyard. Because there were no windows at the front of the building, it looked deserted and somewhat sinister.”

You do lose Stevenson's prose and style of the day, and someday I will have to read the original. But it did give me a sense of the story. Kind of a Cliffs Notes with pictures -- but without the commentary.

The story is told from the point of Mr. Utterson, a lawyer, who is a friend of Dr. Jekyll, a scientist. One day, as Mr. Utterson is walking with his cousin Mr. Enfield, they pass a door, which prompts Mr. Enfield to tell his cousin a story about a strange man, Mr. Hyde, he met after witnessing the man assault a little girl. Mr. Utterson becomes interested because the strange Mr. Hyde is a beneficiary in his friend Dr. Jekyll's will. Mr. Utterson suspects Mr. Hyde of blackmailing his friend, Dr. Jekyll, but the doctor assures his friend that everything is fine. A year later, a member of Parliment is killed, and Mr. Hyde is the chief suspect. Mr. Utterson goes to his friend Dr. Jekyll but is not permitted to see him. After some persistance, Mr. Utterson -- with the help of Dr. Jekyll's servants -- breaks into the laboratory and finds Mr. Hyde dead and Dr. Jekyll missing.

Mr. Utterson finds a letter in the laboratory, which explains everything. It seems that Dr. Jekyll has been trying to divide the good parts of himself from the evil parts. Mr. Hyde was a manifestation of the evil part of Dr. Jekyll. However, he discovered that while Mr. Hyde was pure evil, what was left was not pure good. Soon it became difficult to remain Dr. Jekyll without taking more of the potion that he had created to become Mr. Hyde.

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde have taken their place in literature along side Captain Ahab and Iago -- literary representations of pure evil.

The original text is wordy and hard to follow at times. The abridged version I read is a little too easy and loses some of the texture of the original. If you already know the story of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, try to read the original, but if you are just looking to find out more about Mr. Hyde, read this abridged version. I thought the illustrations added a nice element to the story as well.

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