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Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is one of those stories, like Frankenstein and Dracula, that seemingly everyone has heard of and believes they understand("mythopoetic " in the language of Joyce Carol Oates). Much like the aforementioned works, the actual details of the story may come as a surprise to those who assume they know the story based solely on the popular understanding. For that reason alone I think the book is worth reading.
Dr. Jekyll is a respected if somewhat reclusive London doctor who has, through the course of years of experimentation, managed to create a solution which brings to the fore his evil alter-ego. Unlike many gothic literary villains, Hyde is not imbued with superhuman strength or exceptional gifts of any kind. In fact he is of a smaller and less imposing stature than most men. What he does possess however is a complete lack of compunction with regards to others. Hyde for example ruthlessly runs down a small child who gets in his way. As is the case with Frankenstein, Dr. Jekyll creates something that he can't control and which eventually destroys its creator.
The inhumanity that the fictional Hyde displays can be seen in the non-fictious world on a daily basis. As such, there is a realism to the story which is missing from many horror stories past and present. The fact that such a short and captivating work exists in an attractively packaged edition makes this one classic that will be a joy to read for all.
He uses a very wide range of vocabulary. Stevenson uses many 19th Century terms that seem weird and different to me.
One thing bad about his writing is his punctuation. He uses way too many semicolons and comas. He makes one sentence out of six or seven sentences.
This book was not the best book I ever read, but was not the worst either. it was mediocre. however It was miles ahead of Dracula. Dracula is boring, whereas Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is fast paced, quick, and fun to read. its pritty morbid which is kind of a down side, but Since it is very short it is a good book on my list.
Joyce Carol Oates's introduction is worthwhile, especially for those readers who know the story, as most English-speaking people do, in its basic framework, but who have not yet actually traveled the dark road with Dr. Jekyll and his friends.
It is a pleasure to read a classic book in such a carefully crafted edition. Too often books such as this are printed in cheap editions with narrow margins and lousy type; this one fits comfortably in the hand and is easy on the eye as the reader is drawn into this allegorical nightmare.
This review refers to the University of Nebraska Press edition only.
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