Mr Buchanan's Reviews > The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde & Weir of Hermiston

The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde & Weir of Hermiston by Robert Louis Stevenson
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Aug 03, 2009

really liked it
Read in August, 2009

Ah, the nineteenth century - when sentences rolled off the tongue and bachelors had dastardly fun. Stevenson wrote this "sparsely-printed shilling novel" (as The Times called it) in 1886; a bit after Dickens, a touch before Conan Doyle. As soon as I sat down with it, I felt as if I was slipping onto the chaise longue with a great storyteller, ready for psychoanalysis by proxy.

Two things I liked about this book: its structure and its treatment of theme. Structurally, it builds to a finale by the final two chapters being contained in letters found at the scene. They take us from a gentlemanly third person narrative right into the thick of things. It creates an extra suspense, like a locked box in a ghoulish conjuring trick. Thematically, Stevenson engages with a universal fear about our ability to control our urges while keeping the nature of the beast discreetly unnamed. It releases anyone who's ever had an impure or guilty thought - that's you too! - to empathise with Jekyll's predicament.

For a full review, see my blog.
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06/05 marked as: read

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