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1001 Stories Collection

The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde

1001 The Strangecaseof Dr Jekylland Mr Hyde
Added on 05th August 2020

Author Robert Louis Stevenson
First published 1886
Publisher Longman Green and Co

Kindly Dr Jekyll creates a potion which allows him to transform into the cruel Mr Hyde.

Story

Dr Jekyll is a kindly man who fears that he has an evil side to his nature. He decides to explore this by concocting a potion that can transform him briefly into the violent and cruel Edward Hyde. Eventually his friends deduce that Jekyll and Hyde are one and the same, and that Jekyll is gradually becoming Hyde…

Why we chose it

This short novel was a bestseller in its time, widely translated and acclaimed by famous writers from Kipling and Conan Doyle to Borges and Hemingway.

Stevenson fell out of fashion until the late 20th Century when he was recognised for his imaginative storytelling. His idea of transforming into an evil alter ego has influenced comics, films and games, and ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ become a familiar expression.

Screen writer and children’s author Anthony Horowitz was photographed as Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde for the Story Museum’s 26 Characters exhibition. As well as admiring his writing, Horowitz shares Stevenson’s fascination with good and evil.

Where it came from

Growing up in Scotland Stevenson wanted to become a writer but was forced by his father to study law and spent much of his time drinking in bars and travelling abroad.

Intrigued as a teenager by the interplay between good and evil, wildness and civilisation, he wrote first a play then a short story exploring this theme.

Years later while bedridden in Bournemouth with a fever Stevenson dreamed several of the scenes from Jekyll and Hyde. He wrote the first draft in three days and refined the story over the next 6 weeks. It was a runaway success.

Where it went next

Adapted over 100 times for stage, film and television, Jekyll and Hyde have inspired prequels, sequels and spinoffs, from children’s TV series Julia Jekyll and Harriet Hyde to films such as The League of Extraordinary Gentleman, and comic characters like Marvel’s Incredible Hulk.

Associated stories

Fans of Jekyll and Hyde will also enjoy Stevenson’s first major success, the pirate adventure Treasure Island, and his historical novel Kidnapped.

In the museum

Find the photograph of Anthony Horowitz dressed as Jekyll - and Hyde - in our 26 Characters gallery.

Added on 05th August 2020

Author Robert Louis Stevenson
First published 1886
Publisher Longman Green and Co