Der seltsame Fall von Dr. Jekyll und Mr. Hyde

by Robert Louis Stevenson

Other authorsGrete Rambach (Translator)
Paperback, 2014



Call number

HL 4504 J47



Frankfurt am Main [u.a.] Insel-Verl. 2014


A kind and well-respected doctor is transformed into a murderous madman by taking a secret drug of his own creation.

Media reviews

User reviews

LibraryThing member ocgreg34
The story focuses on Gabriel Utterson, a lawyer who also happens to be a close friend of Dr. Henry Jekyll. While Mr. Utterson and his friend Richard Enfield are out and about for a walk, they chance upon a darkened doorway, and Mr. Enfield relates an unusual tale about a strange, short, loathesome
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man who literally ran right over a young girl without stopping or checking on her. When Utterson learns the name of this mand -- Hyde -- he suddenly remembers a will that he reluctantly drew for Dr. Jekyll, involving one Edward Hyde. So begins his mission to learn about his friend Jekyll whom no one has seen for some months. Yet as he uncovers more about he friend, he soon learns the awful price Jekyll has paid to unleash his inner demons.

"Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" is definitely a classic, with remarkable writing and very vivid images. The heart of the story lies in describing the duality that hides in all humans -- the light side, which tends toward the good in things, is altruistic, friendly and happy; and the darker side, which relishes in the baser human tastes, violence and a general sense of evil. Through his tampering with the balance of light and dark, Jekyll learns that keeping one from overcoming the other is a difficult, almost impossible task. I also feel that the story sheds some light on addiction. Jekyll describes in his statement of events the white powder he created, how it affected his mood and personality, how it created the wonderful sense of change and power at the onset but over time turned into something more necessary to keep himself sane and intact.

Whatever you take from the story after reading it, "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" deserves its place in classic literature as a fine example of suspense and horror and human psychology.
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LibraryThing member gregbak
An absolutely gripping read. Character is the driving force of the book - all of the major characters, and most of the minor characters, behave in ways that are completely consistent with their essential natures, leading to varying levels of tragedy. The master tragedy is that of Dr. Jekyll, a man
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who could not come to grips with his own dark side - or with his enjoyment of the indulgence of that dark side.

The writing is beautiful, with wonderful descriptions of London at its dark, rank, gothic best.
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LibraryThing member ChristaJLS
This was a quick read but a good one. Mr. Utterson, a well know and respected lawyer in the community begins noticing the menacing and evil behaviour of a newcomer, Mr. Hyde. At the same time he is struck by the strange and inexplicable behaviour of his good friend and client, Dr Jekyll. Evidence
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suggests to him that Mr Hyde is threatening and/or terrifying his friend, but as he continues to investigate he encounters even stranger behaviour and explanations than he could have ever imagined.

Like many of you, it seems like I have always known the story of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, though I had never read it. I was surprised to find out it was narrated by a third party but found this provided a more well rounded approach to the story. I also found Utterson a very reliable narrator, whose account you could trust. This meant you weren't second guessing if things actually happened or if they were just the imaginings of a doctor whose done one too many experiments.

This novella was written beautifully, the language was fun to read and easy to understand. It was easy to picture the Victorian setting and the dark streets and alleys Mr. Hyde would be creeping through. It's a fairly safe bet that you know what's going to happen in the end but Stevenson is such a great writer that you still get caught up in the story and are excited to find out how the truth is discovered. Beyond the story itself it also raises some interesting questions about the power/weakness of one's conscience and the lure of evil and desire.
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LibraryThing member heycaye
This book would have shocked me more if only I didn't know what the real mystery was. But Stevenson's novella (I actually think it's more like a short story) is such a masterpiece that it's inevitably being referred to a lot of times. In my case I first heard of it through Van Helsing, and I was
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really fascinated by the thought of having dual identities. I even went so far as to name my two sim cards (my phone's dual-sim) after Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. #deadserious

So now, at least I know what the story behind the two famous characters really is. It sounded more like a mandatory thing to me, reading this book. (Though I hoped it wasn't! If only I read this before getting wind of the cultural references) :)
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LibraryThing member ctpress
Robert Louis Stevensons nightmarish fable about the good and the evil in man - a thriller about the very nature of man - who are we in our inner being? Do we have two natures and can they be separated as Dr. Jekyll thinks? And what are the terrible consequences of his devilish experiment?

When I
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read this novel I’m really transported to the foggy streets of London and want to take a stroll with Utterson and Enfield in the late afternoon and chat with them about Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and all the strange appearances.

I’m absolutely fascinated by this story - it’s now my fourth reading. And this time it was as an audiobook read superbly by Scott Brick.
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LibraryThing member andreablythe
I'm not sure the original Hyde lives up to the figure of threat and evil that pop culture has made him over the years. But this novel is short and fairly suspenseful — or it would be, if I didn't already know the answer to the mystery of Mr. Hyde and why Dr. Jekyll is protecting him. The story is
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quick and it's a classic worth visiting.
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LibraryThing member ScoLgo
Pop culture had long ago given me the gist of this story but reading the original classic was an entirely different experience. A very well-paced and well-written piece of horror fiction. I especially enjoyed that the viewpoint comes from a third-party - Doctor Jekyll's lawyer - who is sleuthing
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around trying to get to the bottom of this 'Mr. Hyde' business. What he discovers will haunt him for the rest of his life.
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LibraryThing member varwenea
"Here then, as I lay down the pen and proceed to seal up my confession, I bring the life of that unhappy Henry Jekyll to an end."

I think my first exposure of the story “The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde” might have been via Bugs Bunny. Look it up; it’s called “Hyde and Hare”.
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This novella is fairly straight forward and its tale well known. Even so, I had not known or considered several tidbits prior to reading it which buttoned up the story nicely. Some are:

- The story is told in the third person, from the view point of a friend and lawyer named Gabriel John Utterson who was initially puzzled by the strange occurrences and later actively investigated the strange occurrences associated with Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.

- Becoming Hyde was a “high” for Jekyll. (I can’t tell if a pun is intended here by Stevenson.) Despite the disfigurement, Hyde was youthful. Hyde’s lack of restraints became a drug and turned Jekyll into an addict, an addiction of the physical and mental freedoms that Hyde represented and provided. Like any addiction, it’s difficult to quit. (The line “I wish I could quit you” entered my mind.)

- The timeline is over many years though the focus is one to two years. Jekyll’s initial optimism led him to spend part of his time planning for Hyde replacing himself including updating his will, so he can extend his life in the new youthful form, that is until he realizes Hyde is violent as well as eventually losing control of his alternate self.

- No one, absolutely no one connected Jekyll and Hyde as one. The revelation was thusly shocking!

Many books used father and son as a relationship comparison. Stevenson did also. This passage explains well the relationship between the two using father and son terms. “…My two natures had memory in common, but all other faculties were most unequally shared between them. Jekyll (who was composite) now with the most sensitive apprehensions, now with a greedy gusto, projected and shared in the pleasures and adventures of Hyde; but Hyde was indifferent to Jekyll, or but remembered him as the mountain bandit remembers the cavern in which he conceals himself from pursuit. Jekyll had more than a father’s interest; Hyde had more than a son’s indifference…”

One aspect that somewhat irked me (or perhaps to say it didn’t age well), is the stereotype that ‘good’ people are good looking, and evil people are grotesque. This physicality difference is part of Stevenson’s explanation on the duality of men and the irony that the good covets the pleasures of his dark side. I know, I know, it’s the evil within oneself, blah, blah. I thought it was heavy handed. “…it came about that Edward Hyde was so much smaller, slighter, and younger than Henry Jekyll. Even as good shone upon the countenance of the one, evil was written broadly and plainly on the face of the other. Evil besides (which I must still believe to be the lethal side of man) had left on that body an imprint of deformity and decay. And yet when I looked upon that ugly idol in the glass, I was conscious of no repugnance, rather of a leap of welcome. This, too was myself. It seemed natural and human. In my eyes it bore a livelier image of the spirit, it seemed more express and single, than the imperfect and divided countenance I had been hitherto accustomed to call mine…” I object to it in the sense that society today still rewards those who are better looking, taller, muscular, sometimes over the talented or of lesser physicality, even though all are capable of evil.
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LibraryThing member richard_dury
The text (by Luc Lefort) is a rewriting, not without art, that smooths out the juxtapositions and troubling linguistic opacity of Stevenson’s text and makes it more of a classic detective story, underlining the suspense and adding those small details, observations of behaviour and touches of
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‘atmosphere’ that contribute to the attractions of the genre.

Ludovic Debeurne’s illustrations (in sombre tones: dark reds, bluish blacks and greys) depict figures in silent, immobile poses that lead the viewer in an unresolved search for meaning. There are 17 full-page illustrations and 8 smaller ones in the text as well as a black and white vignette at the beginning of each chapter (Jekyll’s head progressively transforming and doubling). Worthy of note: a puzzled Utterson with the Will in a small area of lamplight and surrounding darkness; a shocked Utterson meeting Hyde (face in shadow); a carefully groomed Hyde (or is it the young Jekyll?) studying (for some reason) a walking stick balanced lightly between two raised hands; a Dennis Hopper-like interior with a pensive Utterson (eyes not visible because of reflecting light on his spectacles) and his shadow; and a Jekyll/Hyde figure with two heads, one glancing suspiciously at the other.
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LibraryThing member sjmccreary
The famous and classic story about a doctor who has discovered the way to divide the good and evil natures of himself into two different persons.

My first surprise was how short this story is. My second was that we never actually meet Dr Jekyll or Mr Hyde, except in passing. My third was that I have
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no greater understanding of how to interpret the book now than I did before, and perhaps even less. I'm glad I've read it at last. It is, as I said, short. The language, while stilted, isn't that difficult. It is thought provoking - the whole issue of the natures of good and evil and which is dominate in man - but maybe not as provocative now as it was when first published in 1886. I think its greatest value now is as a cultural icon, rather than a great story. But that is still terribly important.
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LibraryThing member universehall
This book truly does earn the title of "classic". It has suspense, interesting characters, a fine storyline, and something that some books that are considered "classics" are lacking: a point.

You could argue about whether the true demon of the story is man's nature, science, or the Promethian
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tendency of the eponimous doctor. However, the essence of the story is the classic "tradgedy" plotline: the hubris of the lead character leads to his downfall.

I do emphasize the word "tragedy" in my review, as it's definitely not a happy-fun-time kind of book. But if you don't go into it expecting that, you will probably be perfectly satisified.

In the end, I would say that the main flaw of this book is that it is infuriatingly short. You could almost complain that this book is nothing more than an extended short story. However, from another viewpoint this could be a virtue; what's better than a classic novel that can be read in less than two hours?
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LibraryThing member ben_a
I first read this as a teenager, and it didn't affect me as greatly as the other Stevensons I loved (Kidnapped foremost). Re-reading it today (in the bitter cold while waiting for AAA) was a revelation. The style is enveloping and superb.

One point of note. In most modern tellings and re-tellings
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of this story, Hyde is not just a moral, but a physical monster, huge and strong. In the original, however, Hyde is a diminished man -- smaller, weaker, exceeding Jekyll only in viciousness.

It was by this time about nine in the morning, and the first fog of the season. A great chocolate-coloured pall lowered over heaven, but the wind was continually charging and routing these embattled vapours; so that as the cab crawled from street to street, Mr. Utterson beheld a marvelous number of degrees and hues of twilight; for here it would be dark like the back-end of evening; and there would be a glow of a rich, lurid brown, like the light of some strange conflagration; and here, for a moment, the fog would be quite broken up, and a haggard shaft of daylight would glance in between the swirling wreaths. The dismal quarter of Soho seen under these changing glimpses, with its muddy ways, and slatternly passengers, and its lamps, which had never been extinguished or had been kindled afresh to combat this mournful reinvasion of darkness, seemed, in the lawyer's eyes, like a district of some city in a nightmare. The thoughts of his mind, besides, were of the gloomiest dye; and when he glanced at the companion of his drive, he was conscious of some touch of that terror of the law and the law's officers, which may at times assail the most honest.

Presently after, he sat on one side of his own hearth, with Mr. Guest, his head clerk, upon the other, and midway between, at a nicely calculated distance from the fire, a bottle of a particular old wine that had long dwelt unsunned in the foundations of his house. The fog still slept on the wing above the drowned city, where the lamps glimmered like carbuncles; and through the muffle and smother of these fallen clouds, the procession of the town's life was still rolling in through the great arteries with a sound as of a mighty wind. But the room was gay with firelight. In the bottle the acids were long ago resolved; the imperial dye had softened with time, as the colour grows richer in stained windows; and the glow of hot autumn afternoons on hillside vineyards, was ready to be set free and to disperse the fogs of London.

It was a wild, cold, seasonable night of March, with a pale moon, lying on her back as though the wind had tilted her, and flying wrack of the most diaphanous and lawny texture. The wind made talking difficult, and flecked the blood into the face.
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LibraryThing member cbl_tn
Since references to the basic plot points of this story are so pervasive in popular culture, it's impossible to read this story for the first time without an awareness of what is to come. The removal of the element of suspense leaves the story flat, and its conclusion drags due to a lengthy
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revelation. While this revelation diluted the story's emotional effect for me, its content intrigued me. Jekyll's description of his tortured mind is infused with both theological and psychological themes. I'm not the first person to notice this. I discovered several articles in theological journals comparing its themes to Romans 7, and I'm sure I would have similar results in a search of the psychological literature. The audio version didn't work well for me because it didn't allow me to pause for reflection. I'll read a print edition next time.
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LibraryThing member williemeikle
It's not called a classic without good reason. It's an almost perfectly plotted short novel, all the parts complementing each other, all serving to build tension and anticipation. The good doctor is suitably tragic, Hyde is suitably degenerate and, despite having seen the multitude of adaptations
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over the years, it still feels remarkably fresh and modern. All of Stevenson's stylistic flourishes are on show, as well as his rarely bettered storytelling ability. I'd give it six stars if I could.
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LibraryThing member shaunesay
This is the first time I've ever read the original Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. I'll admit I had no idea it was written by the same author as Treasure Island, which I also have not read yet. I would not have put those two ideas to the same author, so it's been enlightening all around! It's also amazing
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to me what a short story this really was, only 94 pages, to have inspired so many adaptations and interpretations, movies, etc.

It was an interesting dark fantasy tale with an important lesson about giving in to our baser natures. The more we indulge them, the more it becomes who we are until we're no longer able to hide or control those tendencies.
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LibraryThing member ghr4
It would have been a treat to read Robert Louis Stevenson's classic horror tale Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde without the foreknowledge of the now familiar story or having seeen its multiple film adaptations. A well deserved sensation when first published, it remains a sturdy tale of
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terror, psychological conflict, and the frightening duality of human nature. Stevenson artfully lays out clues for the reader to guess the identity of Mr. Hyde, and the final chapter, recasting the events from Dr. Jekyll's viewpoint, provides a chilling conclusion.
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LibraryThing member baswood
[The Strange case of Dr Jekyll and Mister Hyde] - Robert Louis Stevenson
First published in 1886 as a penny dreadful and subsequently filmed many times Stevenson's Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde will be familiar to many readers. The idea of a dual personality: one inherently good and one inherently evil
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inhabiting one body and the battle between the two certainly fired the publics imagination and it was an immediate success. I came to read as part of my progress through victorian novels that contain the seeds of science fiction. This book does more than contain the seeds it gave vent to a sub-genre all of its own; the crazy scientist working in secret on a potion that will enhance his life in some drastic faction, but has unfortunate side effects. Jules Verne's Doctor Ox published in 1872 had a comparable theme and Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Doran Grey published in 1891 arguably developed the idea, but these both had elements of humour to lighten the reading: Stevenson's book has about as much humour as Scottish bagpipes. It is dark and gothic in a way that gives a nod to the literature of Edgar Allan Poe.

It is a novella in length with the final third being epistolary in form and although it is Victorian and gothic there is a tightness to the writing. The mystery moves smartly forward with Stevensons characterisation's adding to the feeling of unease that the author generates. It is a story revelling in its maleness, the only female character in an unnamed maid who witnesses a murder. It is written as a mystery and so the insights into the characters of Jekyll and Hyde are only revealed in the fairly long denouement. Mr Utterson the protagonist is by his own admission dull, but trustworthy and he is aided by his cousin Richard Enfield said to be a man about town but gives little evidence of it. The focus of the story is on the mystery of Jekyll and Hyde and I think this is why it succeeds so well along with its exploration into the murky dualities of Victorian men.

It is little more than an afternoons read and it might surprise people who have only seen the movie versions. I enjoyed it and so 4 stars.
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LibraryThing member LisaMaria_C
This story of a doctor who splits off his dark side with a potion might have been much more impressive in its psychology of duality when published in 1886. The novella kept me reading from start to finish, without really moving me--the story is kept at one remove until it's last few chapters by
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being seen through the perspective of Utterson, Dr Jekyll's friend and lawyer, a rather bland figure. The last two chapters are letters from a friend and colleague of Jekyll, then finally Jekyll himself, but it feels like an abrupt end because we never get Utterson's reaction to the revelations in those letters. A novel that did actually impress was a modern retelling, Mary Reilly by Valerie Martin, telling the story from the perspective of Jekyll's maid, who is unnamed and only briefly mentioned in the original.
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LibraryThing member Clurb
Stevenson paints a very dark and bleak picture of London. His language makes the story very claustrophobic and although I came at this book already knowing the plot, I found that the understated writing style made it all just a touch more scary than I'd expected.

Best read alone on a rainy night,
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under a blanket.
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LibraryThing member 1morechapter
It is said that Robert Louis Stevenson revised A Child's Garden of Verses and wrote Kidnapped and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in a time span of under two years--if only all of us could be so productive! This is a very short book and can easily be read in a few hours, so I encourage
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you to read it if you have not. I was very surprised I waited this long myself.

It tells the story of how Dr. Jekyll conducted an experiment to separate the evil and the good in his personality. Mr. Hyde was the result of his evil side coming out. Dr. Jekyll's appearance was so altered that he was unrecognizable--both in appearance and actions. What was very interesting to me was that the experiment was done not just for "scientific research", but because Dr. Jekyll admitted to actually enjoying his more sinful side. He wanted to separate the two personalities, in other words, so he could participate in the evil activities while still considering his "real self" to be essentially good. Of course he eventually loses control of the experiment with disastrous results. This simple tale teaches us the true nature of good and evil and our propensity to desire sin. It should be read by all!
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LibraryThing member RoboSchro
"There comes an end to all things; the most capacious measure is filled at last; and this brief condescension to my evil finally destroyed the balance of my soul."

It may be difficult for a reader to forget what is half-known about these famous characters, and approach this story afresh. But it's
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worth doing -- it's a tidy little story, and the title characters embody an intriguing attack on the nature of Victorian morality.
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LibraryThing member frazier193
Robert Louis Stevenson's novella narrates the investigation of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by a lawyer, Mr. Utterson. Mr. Hyde is a mysterious menace who Mr. Utterson believes is somehow related to his friend, Dr. Jekyll. In the end of the tale, Jekyll's butler believes that Hyde has locked himself in
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Jekyll's lab and killed Jekyll. The story ends with Utterson and the butler forcing their way into the lab, finding Hyde dead and Jekyll missing. The second half of the novella presents three letters. Through these letters, the truth about Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is revealed: Dr. Jekyll has transformed into Mr. Hyde after drinking a potion that was designed to separate the good and evil in a person.

This story examines the conflict of good and evil within a man. Dr. Jekyll is reputable, but becomes inwardly lustful. The evil that lies within Jekyll is awakened and manifests itself as Hyde. It is this manifestation that allows Stevenson to analyze the notion of good and evil. The novella also seems to critique the culture and society of Victorian England.

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is a short, easy read. The story is suspenseful and entertaining, and it is pleasurable to put the pieces together as they fall into place at the end of the book.
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LibraryThing member melydia
The whole Jekyll/Hyde story is so famous as to be almost a cliche, so you can imagine my surprise when the original novella was much different than I'd expected. For example, it's told from the point of view of Jekyll's lawyer as he tries to puzzle out who this Hyde fellow is who so suddenly showed
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up as sole inheritor in Jekyll's will. All in all it was a touch dry. Not a bad tale, but I think subsequent adaptations have improved on it. Quite simply, the story is far more gripping when told from Jekyll's point of view. I may however have felt differently had I not known the big secret of Hyde's identity.
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LibraryThing member alexmdac
Although I already knew what happens in this tale, I found it a gripping read and the climax very effective. I enjoyed the quaint Victorian language and moral values.

The weather updates to be found throughout the narrative feature colourful metaphors and similes that I hadn't seen before. This book
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would be useful reading for anyone who would like to make conversation with people as obsessed with climatic conditions as Robert Louis Stevenson clearly was. It'd be a good book for a flight to the UK.
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LibraryThing member Magadri
I love the story. However, since nearly 98% of the population is familiar with this story, it is kind of a drag to read this since you know how everything unfolds. I also didn't find the way in which the story was told very captivating. It is such a thin book, and I had a terrible time getting
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through it. I actually skipped parts in this book because they were so dreadfully boring.
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Original language


Original publication date


Physical description

133 p.; 18 cm


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