PUBLISHER: Tantor Audio
PUBLICATION DATE: November 8, 2006
FORMAT: Unabridged audiobook
LENGTH: 3 hrs and 6 mins
GENRE: Classics, Horror
In September of 1884, Robert Louis Stevenson, then in his mid-thirties, moved with his family to Bournemouth, a resort on the southern coast of England, where in the brief span of 23 months he revised A Child's Garden of Verses and wrote the novels Kidnapped and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
An intriguing combination of fantasy thriller and moral allegory, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde depicts the gripping struggle of two opposing personalities - one essentially good, the other evil - for the soul of one man. Its tingling suspense and intelligent and sensitive portrayal of man's dual nature reveals Stevenson as a writer of great skill and originality, whose power to terrify and move us remains, over a century later, undiminished.
I enjoyed this classic tale of good versus evil!
The story opens with two relatives going out for a walk, and one relaying a story about an incident which occurred in that area which resulted in a little girl being trampled over by a man known as Edward Hyde. The bystanders forced the man to pay a fine of £100, and he returned with partial payment in gold and the balance by way of cheque signed by Dr. Henry Jekyll. The police thought the cheque was a forgery. After all, why wouldn’t Mr. Hyde hand over a cheque from his own account? One of the men, Mr. Utterson, was actually Dr. Jekyll’s lawyer and knew that Dr. Jekyll had made a Will bequeathing everything to Mr. Hyde.
About a year later, Mr. Hyde is involved in another violent incident. In this case, a woman witnesses Mr. Hyde murdering a local Member of Parliament. However, Mr. Hyde is nowhere to be found. The case grows cold, until a few months later when Mr. Utterson is contacted by Dr. Jekyll’s servant who is concerned that something bad has happened to his master. The two of them break into Dr. Jekyll’s lab. They expected to find Dr. Jekyll inside, but instead they find the body of Mr. Hyde.
Through written records left behind, the story is unraveled. Dr. Jekyll wanted to find a way to separate the two parts of his personality: The darker side from the good side. He found the right mix of chemicals to make a potion that allowed him to do just that. He actually was able to physically transform himself into another man, whom he called Mr. Hyde. It is while he is in his Mr. Hyde alter ego that he commits the aforementioned violent acts. Dr. Jekyll is losing control, as he becomes able to spontaneously transform into the Mr. Hyde persona even without taking the potion. It’s a battle of the wills between the two sides.
This story is reminiscent of Shelley’s Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus. Both stories involve mad scientists who want to play God! Of the two stories, I liked this one better because I prefer Stevenson’s more modern prose.
I always enjoy narrations by Scott Brick. His pace is always bang-on, and he holds my interest with the various accents. I definitely find it easier to listen to classics than to read them myself. Here is a sample of the narration:
There have been so many different film adaptations of this story. I’d like to watch the 1968 television movie starring Jack Palance and the 1941 movie starring Spencer Tracy, as well as the more modern 2008 version starring Dougray Scott.
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