Stevenson, Robert Louis (1850 - 1894)

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(1850 - 1894)

(Full name Robert Louis Balfour Stevenson) Scottish novelist, short story writer, poet, essayist, and playwright.

An inventive prose stylist, Stevenson is the versatile author of classic works in several genres. Renowned for his adventure novels Treasure Island (1883) and Kidnapped: Being Memoirs of the Adventures of David Balfour in the Year 1751 (1886), and for his outstanding work of supernatural horror The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1886), Stevenson is additionally remembered as a travel writer and author of children's verse. Just as his famous stories of piracy and horror have placed him at the forefront of writers of romances, his unusual life and personality have made him one of literature's most intriguing individuals, to the extent that his biography has often overshadowed his literary reputation. Nevertheless, critics credit his continued esteem to the enduring appeal of his fiction, which features fast-paced action, intricate plots, and well-drawn characters. Stevenson is also admired for his fecund imagination and affinity for the psychology of children, as displayed most notably in his early "boys' novels" and his poetry collection A Child's Garden of Verses (1885). Although his present critical standing does not equal that accorded him by his contemporaries, his mass popularity continues, and his novels and stories are still considered seminal to the late nineteenth-century development of adventure, romance, and Gothic literature.


Stevenson was born in Edinburgh. A sickly, fragile child, he suffered from severe respiratory ailments that frequently interrupted his schooling. Although he wanted to be a writer, his father insisted that Stevenson be trained in a more secure profession. Thus he attended Edinburgh University between 1866 and 1871, studying engineering, although the subject held little appeal for him. Later, in a compromise with his father, he took a law degree in 1875, but never practiced. Motivated by his love for adventure and his desire to seek out a climate agreeable to his health, Stevenson traveled extensively throughout his life. His journeys to France in the 1870s provided much of the material for his early travel books, An Inland Voyage (1878) and Travels with a Donkey in the Cévennes (1879). In 1876, while in France, Stevenson met Mrs. Fanny Osbourne, an American woman eleven years his senior. When Osbourne returned to California two years later to arrange a divorce, Stevenson followed. The newly married couple stayed in America for almost a year and then returned to Europe with Lloyd Osbourne, Fanny's son. During the 1880s, despite his con-tinuing poor health, Stevenson wrote many of his best-known works, including Treasure Island. Originally begun as a game for his stepson, the novel was published serially in a children's magazine under the title "The Sea-Cook" and became Stevenson's first popular and critical success. The works that followed, including A Child's Garden of Verses, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and Kidnapped, strengthened his growing reputation. In 1887, the Stevensons returned to the United States. From California, they sailed to Samoa, where they settled, Stevenson finding the climate congenial to his respiratory condition. His life on the island consisted of dabbling in local politics, managing his plantation, and writing several works, including collaborations with Lloyd Osbourne. He died unexpectedly at the age of forty-four from a cerebral hemorrhage.


Stevenson's short stories and novels for adults include the works most often cited by modern critics as his best: The Merry Men and Other Tales and Fables (1887), Island Nights' Entertainments (1893), The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, The Master of Ballantrae (1889), and Weir of Hermiston (1896). Unlike his earlier works, these novels and stories examine moral dilemmas presented in an atmosphere imbued with mystery and horror. Modern commentators note certain recurring themes, such as those of the divided self and the nature of evil. Several of these pieces partake directly in the Gothic tradition, featuring elements of the horrific and supernatural. Reputedly based upon a nightmare brought on by fever and narcotic drugs, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde centers on the ill-fated attempt of the scientist Jekyll to dissociate the good and evil components of his being for the purposes of isolating and eliminating the latter. Compounding a drug to achieve this goal, Jekyll unwittingly transforms himself into the villainous Hyde upon drinking it. The metamorphoses begin to occur randomly, and ultimately Jekyll kills himself to stop Hyde's predations. The story has been variously interpreted as an allegory of the twofold nature of human beings, a moralizing tale about good and evil, and a satire concerned with the cultural forces that require individuals to suppress natural urges. Sometimes seen as a didactic Victorian cautionary tale about the dangers of abandoning oneself to base instincts, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde escapes sensationalism through its controlled narrative: gruesome events are described after the fact by different observers. Aside from this extended work, Stevenson also wrote several other pieces of short fiction that explore Gothic and supernatural subjects. Originally published in 1885 and posthumously collected in Stevenson's The Story of a Lie, and Other Tales (1904), "The Body-Snatcher" is an account of supernatural retribution that befalls two medical students who rob graves and commit murder to obtain cadavers for dissection. One of Stevenson's most celebrated short stories, "Markheim" was first published in 1885 and was later featured in The Merry Men and Other Tales and Fables. Exhibiting the influence of writings by Edgar Allan Poe as well that of Fyodor Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment, "Markheim" is a tale of psychological horror centered on its eponymous protagonist as he commits an evidently premeditated murder and then encounters a stranger, a devilish doppelgänger, who seems to know everything about him, including his crime. The major themes in "Markheim" are similar to those of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, namely the struggle between good and evil—and freewill and predestination—within the human soul. In the story, this assay between the opposing forces of virtue and malevolence in the individual is expressed through the figure of the ambiguous double, the visitant, who most critics interpret to be the embodiment of Markheim's conscience.

Several more of Stevenson's works of short fiction follow in the Scottish literary tradition established by Sir Walter Scott, with many drawing upon the Gothic conventions of the uncanny and inexplicable used by Scott in his romances. These include "Thrawn Janet," a ghost story that exploits superstitious belief in witchcraft and demonic possession; "The Merry Men," a hallucinatory sea tale concerned with madness and conscience; and "The Pavilion on the Links" and "Black Andie's Tale of Tod Lapraik," adventure stories with detailed historical backgrounds. Other stories, such as "The Bottle Imp" and "The Isle of Voices," draw upon the folklore of the South Seas Islands. Collected in Island Nights' Entertainments, "The Bottle Imp" recounts the tale of a Hawaiian man who, while visiting San Francisco, buys a bottle containing a magical but malevolent creature that grants its possessor wishes. He soon learns, however, that the imp is evil and seeks to relieve himself of its curse. Another of Stevenson's most famous stories "The Beach of Falesá" (1892) is principally a work of literary realism concerned with British imperialism in the South Seas. The story's characteristic eeriness, however, has prompted some to comment on its subtle use of Gothic conventions. For many of his remaining stories, including "Providence and the Guitar" (1878) and "The Story of a Lie" (1879), Stevenson drew on his own vagabond youth, wryly detailing the posing and fakery that can accompany a bohemian way of life in these pieces.


After Stevenson's untimely death, his family issued editions of his letters and approved an official biography designed to sustain popular perception of Stevenson as a brave, talented, and somewhat fey invalid whose life and works were above reproach. Although several critics warned readers against this eulogistic approach to the writer, the content of Stevenson criticism did not change significantly until 1915, when Frank Swinnerton (see Further Reading) published his R. L. Stevenson: A Critical Study. Considered by modern critics the most important challenger to the Stevenson myth, Swinnerton rejected the uncritical adoration of early readers and inspired a change in the critical approach to Stevenson, which had previously focused on personal rather than literary subjects. Although critics are still fascinated by his life and reputation, they now respond to his work more often with serious analysis and acclaim. In the contemporary period, Weir of Hermiston, the novel that Stevenson was at work upon when he died, has come to be regarded by many as his best effort for its forceful style and for its psychologically and morally complex characters. Meanwhile Treasure Island, Kidnapped and A Child's Garden of Verses remain popular with young readers, and continue to be regarded as classics of children's literature.

Critical appreciation of Stevenson's status as an influential Gothic writer has largely focused on his novella The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. The work itself was immensely popular with contemporary readers, although early critics' reactions varied widely. Almost all acknowledged Stevenson's skill as a writer of suspense, though many questioned the work's moral intent. Some viewed the story as a moral allegory on the nature of evil, while other commentators found Stevenson's own remarks illuminating, particularly his statement that the transformation of Jekyll into Hyde was meant to show that desires, when ignored, become perverted. Since the middle of the twentieth century, critics have continued to forward moral, thematic, and psychological interpretations of Stevenson's novella. Masao Miyoshi has studied Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde as a complex work that explores the paradoxical "double nature" of man, a favorite theme of both eighteenth-century Gothic and later romance authors who sought to depict the unresolved dualities inherent in all human beings. Joyce Carol Oates has assessed the novella as a characteristic work of Victorian Gothic, describing it as a moral parable, a cautionary tale concerned with the good and evil impulses that reside within us all. Matthew C. Brennan represents numerous contemporary critics who have taken a psychological and cultural approach to Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by emphasizing its use of such Gothic tropes as unconscious repression and the urge toward self-destruction. Linda Dryden (see Further Reading) has returned to the contemporary Victorian reception of Stevenson's novella, arguing that the story capitalized upon a peak in late nineteenth-century concern with such quintessentially Gothic themes as cultural degeneracy, criminal insanity, and atavism. Dryden has likewise linked the book's popular success to its artistic rendering of the particularly urban and imperial anxieties associated with life in fin de siècle London. While scholarly interest in Stevenson's novella endures, opinion remains divided over the overall value of the writer's oeuvre. Despite some critical neglect of his writings, however, his children's poetry, adventure stories, and adult romances persist in attracting readers who appreciate fine writing and exciting adventure, and his Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde continues to be regarded as one of the outstanding examples of late-Victorian Gothic horror.


The Pentland Rising: A Page of History, 1666 (essay) 1866
An Inland Voyage (travel sketches) 1878
"Providence and the Guitar" (short story) 1878; published in the journal London
"The Story of a Lie" (short story) 1879; published in the journal New Quarterly Magazine
Travels with a Donkey in the Cévennes
(travel sketches) 1879
Virginibus Puerisque and Other Papers (essays) 1881
Deacon Brodie; or, The Double Life: A Melodrama Founded on Facts [with William Ernest Henley] (play) 1882
Familiar Studies of Men and Books (essays) 1882

New Arabian Nights. 2 vols. (short stories) 1882
Treasure Island (novel) 1883
"The Body Snatcher" (short story) 1885; published in the journal Pall Mall Magazine
A Child's Garden of Verses
(poetry) 1885
Macaire [with Henley; first publication] (play) 1885
More New Arabian Nights: The Dynamiter [with Fanny Stevenson] (short stories) 1885
Prince Otto (novel) 1885
Kidnapped: Being Memoirs of the Adventures of David Balfour in the Year 1751 (novel) 1886
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (novella) 1886
Memories and Portraits (essays) 1887
The Merry Men and Other Tales and Fables (short stories) 1887
Underwoods (poetry) 1887
The Black Arrow: A Tale of the Two Roses (novel) 1888
The Master of Ballantrae: A Winter's Tale (novel) 1889
The Wrong Box [with Lloyd Osbourne] (novel) 1889
Admiral Guinea [with Henley] (play) 1890
Ballads (poetry) 1890
Beau Austin [with Henley] (play) 1890
Across the Plains, with Other Memories and Essays (essays) 1892
"The Beach of Falesá " (short story) 1892; published in the journal Illustrated London News
The Wrecker
[with Osbourne] (novel) 1892
Catriona, a Sequel to "Kidnapped": Being Memoirs of the Further Adventures of David Balfour at Home and Abroad (novel) 1893; also published as David Balfour: Being Memoirs of His Adventures at Home and Abroad, 1893
Island Nights' Entertainments (short stories) 1893
The Ebb-Tide: A Trio and Quartette [with Osbourne] (novel) 1894
The Works of R. L. Stevenson. 28 vols. (novels, unfinished novels, short stones, travel sketches, poetry, essays, drama, and letters) 1894–98
Weir of Hermiston (unfinished novel) 1896
#St. lve's: Being the Adventures of a French Prisoner in England (novel) 1897
Poems Hitherto Unpublished. 2 vols. (poetry) 1916; also published as New Poems and Variant Readings, 1918

∗ This collection contains the short story "The Pavilion on the Links."

† This collection contains the short stories "Markheim," "The Merry Men," and "Thrawn Janet."

‡ This collection contains the short stories "The Bottle Imp," "Black Andie's Tale of Tod Lapraik," and "The Isle of Voices."

# This work was completed by A. T. Quiller-Couch.



SOURCE: Stevenson, Robert Louis. "The Bottle Imp." In Masterpieces of Terror and the Supernatural, selected by Marvin Kaye, pp. 46-70. New York: Barnes & Noble, 1985.

The following excerpt is from a story written around 1889 and first published in the New York Herald from February to March, 1891.

Now there was an old brutal Haole drinking with him, one that had been a boatswain of a whaler—a runaway, a digger in gold mines, a convict in prisons. He had a low mind and a foul mouth; he loved to drink and to see others drunken; and he pressed the glass upon Keawe. Soon there was no more money in the company.

"Here, you!" says the boatswain, "you are rich, you have been always saying. You have a bottle or some foolishness."

"Yes," says Keawe, "I am rich; I will go back and get some money from my wife, who keeps it."

"That's a bad idea, mate," said the boatswain. "Never you trust a petticoat with dollars. They're all as false as water; you keep an eye on her."

Now this word struck in Keawe's mind; for he was muddled with what he had been drinking.

"I should not wonder but she was false, indeed," thought he. "Why else should she be so cast down at my release? But I will show her I am not the man to be fooled. I will catch her in the act."

Accordingly, when they were back in town, Keawe bade the boatswain wait for him at the corner by the old calaboose, and went forward up the avenue alone to the door of his house. The night had come again; there was a light within, but never a sound; and Keawe crept about the corner, opened the back door softly, and looked in.

There was Kokua on the floor, the lamp at her side; before her was a milk-white bottle, with a round belly and a long neck; and as she viewed it, Kokua wrung her hands.

A long time Keawe stood and looked in the doorway. At first he was struck stupid; and then fear fell upon him that the bargain had been made amiss, and the bottle had come back to him as it came at San Francisco; and at that his knees were loosened, and the fumes of the wine departed from his head like mists off a river in the morning. And then he had another thought; and it was a strange one, that made his cheeks to burn.

"I must make sure of this," thought he.

So he closed the door, and went softly round the corner again, and then came noisily in, as though he were but now returned. And, lo! by the time he opened the front door no bottle was to be seen; and Kokua sat in a chair and started up like one awakened out of sleep.

"I have been drinking all day and making merry," said Keawe. "I have been with good companions, and now I only came back for money, and return to drink and carouse with them again."

Both his face and voice were as stern as judgment, but Kokua was too troubled to observe.

"You do well to use your own, my husband," said she, and her words trembled.

"Oh, I do well in all things," said Keawe, and he went straight to the chest and took out money. But he looked besides in the corner where they kept the bottle, and there was no bottle there.

At that the chest heaved upon the floor like a sea-billow, and the house spun about him like a wreath of smoke, for he saw she was lost now, and there was no escape. "It is what I feared," he thought. "It is she who has bought it."

And then he came to himself a little and rose up; but the sweat streamed on his face as thick as the rain and as cold as the well-water.

"Kokua," said he, "I said to you to-day what ill became me. Now I return to house with my jolly companions," and at that he laughed a little quietly. "I will take more pleasure in the cup if you forgive me."

She clasped his knees in a moment, she kissed his knees with flowing tears.

"Oh," she cried, "I ask but a kind word!"

"Let us never one think hardly of the other," said Keawe, and was gone out of the house.

Now, the money that Keawe had taken was only some of that store of centime pieces they had laid in at their arrival. It was very sure he had no mind to be drinking. His wife had given her soul for him, now he must give his for hers; no other thought was in the world with him.

At the corner, by the old calaboose, there was the boatswain waiting.

"My wife has the bottle," said Keawe, "and, unless you help me to recover it, there can be no more money and no more liquor to-night."

"You do not mean to say you are serious about that bottle?" cried the boatswain.

"There is the lamp," said Keawe. "Do I look as if I was jesting?"

"That is so," said the boatswain. "You look as serious as a ghost."

"Well, then," said Keawe, "here are two centimes; you just go to my wife in the house, and offer her these for the bottle, which (if I am not much mistaken) she will give you instantly. Bring it to me here, and I will buy it back from you for one; for that is the law with this bottle, that it still must be sold for a less sum. But whatever you do, never breathe a word to her that you have come from me."

"Mate, I wonder are you making a fool of me?" asked the boatswain.

"It will do you no harm if I am," returned Keawe.

"That is so, mate," said the boatswain.

"And if you doubt me," added Keawe, "you can try. As soon as you are clear of the house, wish to have your pocket full of money, or a bottle of the best rum, or what you please, and you will see the virtue of the thing."

"Very well, Kanaka," says the boatswain. "I will try; but if you are having your fun out of me, I will take my fun out of you with a belaying-pin."

So the whaler-man went off up the avenue; and Keawe stood and waited. It was near the same spot where Kokua had waited the night before; but Keawe was more resolved, and never faltered in his purpose; only his soul was bitter with despair.

It seemed a long time he had to wait before he heard a voice singing in the darkness of the avenue. He knew the voice to be the boatswain's; but it was strange how drunken it appeared upon a sudden.

Next the man himself came stumbling into the light of the lamp. He had the devil's bottle buttoned in his coat; another bottle was in his hand; and even as he came in view he raised it to his mouth and drank.

"You have it," said Keawe. "I see that."

"Hands off!" cried the boatswain, jumping back. "Take a step near me, and I'll smash your mouth. You thought you could make a catspaw of me, did you?"

"What do you mean?" cried Keawe.

"Mean?" cried the boatswain. "This is a pretty good bottle, this is; that's what I mean. How I got it for two centimes I can't make out; but I am sure you shan't have it for one."

"You mean you won't sell?" gasped Keawe.

"No, sir," cried the boatswain. "But I'll give you a drink of the rum, if you like."

"I tell you," said Keawe, "the man who has that bottle goes to hell."

"I reckon I'm going anyway," returned the sailor; "and this bottle's the best thing to go with I've struck yet. No, sir!" he cried again, "this is my bottle now, and you can go and fish for another."

"Can this be true?" Keawe cried. "For your own sake, I beseech you, sell it me!"

"I don't value any of your talk," replied the boatswain. "You thought I was a flat, now you see I'm not; and there's an end. If you won't have a swallow of the rum, I'll have one myself. Here's your health, and goodnight to you!"

So off he went down the avenue towards town, and there goes the bottle out of the story.

But Keawe ran to Kokua light as the wind; and great was their joy that night; and great, since then, has been the peace of all their days in the Bright House.


The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde


SOURCE: A review of The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, by Robert Louis Stevenson. The Times, London, no. 31665 (25 January 1886): 13.

In the following laudatory review of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, the critic praises Stevenson's handling of his supernatural subject matter, comparing his work favorably with Edgar Allan Poe's.

Nothing Mr. Stevenson has written as yet has so strongly impressed us with the versatility of his very original genius as [The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, ] this sparsely-printed little shilling volume. From the business point of view we can only marvel in these practical days at the lavish waste of admirable material, and what strikes us as a disproportionate expenditure of brain-power, in relation to the tangible results. Of two things, one. Either the story was a flash of intuitive psychological research, dashed off in a burst of inspiration; or else it is the product of the most elaborate forethought, fitting together all the parts of an intricate and inscrutable puzzle. The proof is, that every connoisseur who reads the story once must certainly read it twice. He will read it the first time, passing from surprise to surprise, in a curiosity that keeps growing, because it is never satisfied. For the life of us, we cannot make out how such and such an incident can possibly be explained on grounds that are intelligible or in any way plausible. Yet all the time the seriousness of the tone assures us that explanations are forthcoming. In our impatience we are hurried towards the denouement, which accounts for everything upon strictly scientific grounds, though the science be the science of problematical futurity. Then, having drawn a sigh of relief at having found even a fantastically speculative issue from our embarrassments, we begin reflectively to call to mind how systematically the writer has been working towards it. Never for a moment, in the most startling situations, has he lost his grasp of the grand ground-facts of a wonderful and supernatural problem. Each apparently incredible or insignificant detail has been thoughtfully subordinated to his purpose. And if we say, after all, on a calm retrospect, that the strange case is absurdly and insanely improbable, Mr. Stevenson might answer in the words of Hamlet, that there are more things in heaven and in earth than are dreamed of in our philosophy. For we are still groping by doubtful lights on the dim limits of boundless investigation; and it is always possible that we may be on the brink of a new revelation as to the unforeseen resources of the medical art. And, at all events, the answer should suffice for the purposes of Mr. Stevenson's sensational tour d'esprit.

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll is sensational enough in all conscience, and yet we do not promise it the wide popularity of Called Back. The brochure that brought fame and profit to the late Mr. Fargus was pitched in a more commonplace key, and consequently appealed to more vulgar circles. But, for ourselves, we should many times sooner have the credit of Dr. Jekyll, which appeals irresistibly to the most cultivated minds, and must be appreciated by the most competent critics. Naturally, we compare it with the sombre masterpieces of Poe, and we may say at once that Mr. Stevenson has gone far deeper. Poe embroidered richly in the gloomy grandeur of his imagination upon themes that were but too material, and not very novel—on the sinister destiny overshadowing a doomed family, on a living and breathing man kept prisoner in a coffin or vault, on the wild whirling of a human waif in the boiling eddies of the Maelstrom—while Mr. Stevenson evolves the ideas of his story from the world that is unseen, enveloping everything in weird mystery, till at last it pleases him to give us the password. We are not going to tell his strange story, though we might well do so, and only excite the curiosity of our readers. We shall only say that we are shown the shrewdest of lawyers hopelessly puzzled by the inexplicable conduct of a familiar friend. All the antecedents of a life of virtue and honour seem to be belied by the discreditable intimacy that has been formed with one of the most callous and atrocious of criminals. A crime committed under the eyes of a witness goes unavenged, though the notorious criminal has been identified, for he disappears as absolutely as if the earth had swallowed him. He reappears in due time where we should least expect to see him, and for some miserable days he leads a charmed life, while he excites the superstitious terrors of all about him. Indeed, the strongest nerves are shaken by stress of sinister circumstances, as well they may be, for the worthy Dr. Jekyll—the benevolent physician—has likewise vanished amid events that are enveloped in impalpable mysteries; nor can any one surmise what has become of him. So with overwrought feelings and conflicting anticipations we are brought to the end, where all is accounted for, more or less credibly.


At last I have read Dr Jekyll. It makes me wonder whether a man has the right so to scrutinise "the abysmal deeps of personality". It is indeed a dreadful book, most dreadful because of a certain moral callousness, a want of sympathy, a shutting out of hope…. As a piece of literary work, this seems to me the finest you have done…. But it has left such a deeply painful impression on my heart that I do not know how I am ever to turn to it again.

SOURCE: Symonds, John Addington. "Excerpt from a letter dated 3 March 1886." Quoted in Selected Letters of Robert Louis Stevenson, edited by Ernest Mehew, p. 310. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1886.

Nor is it the mere charm of the story, strange as it is, which fascinates and thrills us. Mr. Stevenson is known for a master of style, and never has he shown his resources more remarkably than on this occasion. We do not mean that the book is written in excellent English—that must be a matter of course; but he has weighed his words and turned his sentences so as to sustain and excite throughout the sense of mystery and of horror. The mero artful use of an "it" for a "he" may go far in that respect, and Mr. Stevenson has carefully chosen his language and missed no opportunity. And if his style is good, his motive is better, and shows a higher order of genius. Slight as is the story, and supremely sensational, we remember nothing better since George Eliot's "Romela" than this delineation of a feeble but kindly nature steadily and inevitably succumbing to the sinister influences of besetting weaknesses. With no formal preaching and without a touch of Pharisaism, he works out the essential power of Evil, which, with its malignant patience and unwearying perseverance, gains ground with each casual yielding to temptation, till the once well-meaning man may actually become a fiend, or at least wear the reflection of the fiend's image. But we have said enough to show our opinion of the book, which should be read as a finished study in the art of fantastic literature.

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SOURCE: Oates, Joyce Carol. "Foreword." In The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, by Robert Louis Stevenson, pp. ix-xviii. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1990.

In the following essay, Oates discusses The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and some of its literary precedents and descendents within the framework of Victorian morality.

Like such mythopoetic figures as Frankenstein, Dracula, and, even, Alice ("in Wonderland"), Dr.-Jekyll-and-Mr.-Hyde has become, in the century following the publication of Robert Louis Stevenson's famous novella, what might be called an autonomous creation. That is, people who have never read the novella—people who do not in fact "read" at all—know by way of popular culture who Jekyll-Hyde is. (Though they are apt to speak of him, not altogether accurately, as two disparate beings: Dr. Jekyll, Mr. Hyde.) A character out of prose fiction, Jekyll-Hyde seems nonetheless autogenetic in the way that vampires and werewolves and (more benignly) fairies seem autogenetic: surely he has always existed in the collective imagination, or, like Jack the Ripper, in actual history? (As "Dracula" is both the specific creation of the novelist Bram Stoker and a nightmare figure out of middle European history.) It is ironic that, in being so effaced, Robert Louis Stevenson has become immortalized by way of his private fantasy—which came to him, by his own testimony, unbidden, in a dream.

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1886) will strike contemporary readers as a characteristically Victorian moral parable, not nearly so sensational (nor so piously lurid) as Stoker's Dracula; in the tradition, perhaps, of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, in which a horrific tale is conscientiously subordinated to the author's didactic intention. Though melodramatic in conception it is not melodramatic in execution since virtually all its scenes are narrated and summarized after the fact. There is no ironic ambiguity, no Wildean subtlety, in the doomed Dr. Jekyll's confession: he presents himself to the reader as a congenital "double dealer" who has nonetheless "an almost morbid sense of shame" and who, in typically Victorian middle-class fashion, must act to dissociate "himself" (i.e., his reputation as a highly regarded physician) from his baser instincts. He can no longer bear to suppress them and it is impossible to eradicate them. His discovery that "Man is not truly one, but two" is seen to be a scientific fact, not a cause for despair. (And, in time, it may be revealed that man is "a mere polity of multifarious, incongruous and independent denizens"—which is to say that the ego contains multitudes: multiple personalities inhabit us all. It cannot be incidental that Robert Louis Stevenson was himself a man enamoured of consciously playing roles and assuming personae: his friend Arthur Symons said of him that he was "never really himself except when he was in some fantastic disguise.")

Thus Dr. Jekyll's uncivilized self, to which he gives the symbolic name Hyde, is at once the consequence of a scientific experiment (as the creation of Frankenstein's monster was a scientific experiment) and a shameless indulgence of appetites that cannot be assimilated into the propriety of everyday Victorian life. There is a sense in which Hyde, for all his monstrosity, is but an addiction like alcohol, nicotine, drugs: "The moment I choose," Dr. Jekyll says, "I can be rid of him." Hyde must be hidden not simply because he is wicked but because Dr. Jekyll is a willfully good man—an example to others, like the muchadmired lawyer Mr. Utterson who is "lean, long, dusty, dreary and yet somehow [improbably?] lovable." Had the Victorian ideal been less hypocritically ideal or had Dr. Jekyll been content with a less perfect public reputation his tragedy would not have occurred. (As Wilde's Basil Hallward says in The Picture of Dorian Gray: "We in our madness have separated the two [body and soul] and have invented a realism that is vulgar, and an ideality that is void." The key term here is surely "madness.")

Dr. Jekyll's initial experience, however, approaches ecstasy as if he were, indeed, discovering the Kingdom of God that lies within. The magic drug causes nausea and a grinding in the bones and a "horror of the spirit that cannot be exceeded at the hour of birth or death." Then:

I came to myself as if out of a great sickness. There was something strange in my sensations, something indescribably new and, from its very novelty, incredibly sweet. I felt younger, lighter, happier in body; within I was conscious of a heady recklessness, a current of disordered sensual images running like a mill race in my fancy, a solution of the bonds of obligation, an unknown but not an innocent freedom of the soul. I knew myself, at the first breath of this new life, to be more wicked, tenfold more wicked, sold a slave to my original evil; and the thought, in that moment, braced and delighted in me like wine.

Unlike Frankenstein's monster, who is nearly twice the size of an average man, Jekyll's monster is dwarfed: "less robust and less developed" than the good self since Jekyll's rigorouly suppressed life has been the consequence of unrelenting "effort, virtue and control." (Stevenson's anatomy of the human psyche is as grim as Freud's—virtually all a "good" man's waking energies are required in beating back and denying the "badness" in him!) That Hyde's frenzied pleasures are even in part specifically sexual is never confirmed, given the Victorian cast of the narrative itself, but, to extrapolate from an incident recounted by an eyewitness, one is led to suspect they are: Hyde is observed running down a ten-year-old girl in the street and calmly trampling over her body. Much is made subsequently of the girl's "screaming"; and of the fact that money is paid to her family as recompense for her violation.

Viewed from without Hyde is detestable in the abstract: "I never saw a man I so disliked," Jekyll's friend Enfield says, "and yet I scarce know why. He must be deformed somewhere…." Another witness testifies to his mysteriously intangible deformity "without any nameable malformation." But when Jekyll looks in the mirror he is conscious of no repugnance, "rather of a leap of welcome. This, too, was myself. It seemed natural and human." When Jekyll returns to himself after having been Hyde he is plunged into wonder rather than remorse at his "vicarious depravity." The creature summoned out of his soul and sent forth to do his pleasure is a being "inherently malign and villainous; his every act and thought centered on self; drinking pleasure with bestial avidity from any degree of torture to another; relentless like a man of stone." Yet Hyde is safely other—"It was Hyde, after all, and Hyde alone, that was guilty."

Oscar Wilde's equally didactic but far more suggestive and poetic The Picture of Dorian Gray (1890) makes the disturbing point that Dorian Gray, the unblemished paragon of evil, "is the type of which the age is searching for, and what it is afraid it has found." (Just as Wilde's Lord Henry defends insincerity "as a method by which we can multiply our personalities.") By contrast Jekyll's Hyde is a very nearly Bosch-like creature, proclaiming his wickedness to the naked eye as if, in Utterson's words, he is a "troglodyte … the mere radiance of a foul soul that thus transpires through, and transfigures, its clay continent." One is reminded of nineteenth-century theories of criminology advanced by C. S. Lombroso and Henry Maudsley, among others, who argued that outward physical defects and deformities are the visible signs of inward and invisible faults: the criminal is a type that can be easily identified by experts. Dr. Jekyll is the more reprehensible in his infatuation with Hyde in that, as a well-trained physician, he should have recognized at once the telltale symptoms of mental and moral degeneracy in his alter ego's very face.

By degrees, like any addict, Jekyll surrenders his autonomy. His ego ceases being "I" and splits into two distinct and eventually warring selves, which share memory as they share a common body. Only after Hyde commits murder does Jekyll make the effort to regain control; but by this time, of course, it is too late. What had been "Jekyll"—that precarious cuticle of a self, that field of tensions in perpetual opposition to desire—has irrevocably split. It is significant that the narrator of Jekyll's confession speaks of both Jekyll and Hyde as if from the outside. And with a passionate eloquence otherwise absent from Stevenson's prose:

The powers of Hyde seemed to have grown with the sickliness of Jekyll. And certainly the hate that now divided them was equal on each side. With Jekyll, it was a thing of vital instinct. He had now seen the full deformity of that creature that shared with him some of the phenomena of consciousness, and was co-heir with him to death: and beyond these links of community, which in themselves made the most poignant part of his distress, he thought of Hyde, for all his energy of life, as of something not only hellish but inorganic. This was the shocking thing; that the slime of the pit seemed to utter cries and voices; that the amorphous dust gesticulated and sinned; that what was dead, and had no shape, should usurp the offices of life. And this again, that that insurgent horror was knit to him closer than a wife, closer than an eye; lay caged in his flesh, where he heard it mutter and felt it struggle to be born; and at every hour of weakness, and in the confidence of slumber, prevailed against him, and deposed him out of life.

"Think of it," Jekyll had gloated at the start, "—I did not even exist!" And the purely metaphorical becomes literally true.

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, though stimulated by a dream, is not without its literary antecedents: among them Edgar Allan Poe's "William Wilson" (1839), in which, paradoxically, the "evil" self is the narrator and the "good" self, or conscience, the double; and Charles Dickens's uncompleted The Mystery of Edwin Drood (1870), in which the Choirmaster Jack Jasper, an opium addict, oscillates between "good" and "evil" impulses in his personality with an anguish so convincingly calibrated as to suggest that, had Dickens lived to complete the novel, it would have been one of his masterpieces—and would have made The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde redundant. Cautionary tales of malevolent, often diabolical doubles abound in folklore and oral tradition, and in Plato's Symposium it was whimsically suggested that each human being has a double to whom he was once physically attached—a bond of Eros that constituted in fact a third, and higher, sex in which male and female were conjoined.

The visionary starkness of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde anticipates that of Freud in such late melancholy meditations as Civilization and Its Discontents (1929–30): there is a split in man's psyche between ego and instinct, between civilization and "nature," and the split can never be healed. Freud saw ethics as a reluctant concession of the individual to the group, veneer of a sort overlaid upon an unregenerate primordial self. The various stratagems of culture—including, not incidentally, the "sublimation" of raw aggression by way of art and science—are ultimately powerless to contain the discontent, which must erupt at certain periodic times, on a collective scale, as war. Stevenson's quintessentially Victorian parable is unique in that the protagonist initiates his tragedy of doubleness out of a fully lucid sensibility—one might say a scientific sensibility. Dr. Jekyll knows what he is doing, and why he is doing it, though he cannot, of course, know how it will turn out. What is unquestioned throughout the narrative, by either Jekyll or his circle of friends, is mankind's fallen nature: sin is original, and irremediable. For Hyde, though hidden, will not remain so. And when Jekyll finally destroys him he must destroy Jekyll too.


SOURCE: Brennan, Matthew C. "Robert Louis Stevenson's Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde." In The Gothic Psyche: Disintegration and Growth in Nineteenth-Century English Literature, pp. 97-112. Columbia, S.C.: Camden House, 1997.

In the following essay, Brennan surveys critical reaction to The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and offers a psychological and cultural approach to the novella.

Published in 1886—a decade before Freud's Interpretation of Dreams—Robert Louis Stevenson's The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde has long been read as a stunning example of the dual nature of the human personality. Frequently Stevenson's tale gets grouped with the literature of the double, which includes late-Victorian, early-modern works such as Joseph Conrad's "Secret Sharer" (1910) and Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray (1891) as well as earlier Gothic fiction—James Hogg's Confessions of a Justified Sinner (1824) and Edgar Allan Poe's "William Wilson" (1845). Stevenson himself wrote that he spent years searching for a story that could embody his "strong sense of man's double being."1 A few commentators, such as Jeremy Hawthorn and Morton Prince, have narrowly viewed the physical splitting of Henry Jekyll into Edward Hyde as a literal case of multiple personality. But this interpretation stresses not the universality of the story but rather—given the rarity of such a mental disorder—the incredible unlikelihood that one of your friendly neighbors just might be Jack the Ripper. A more fitting and imaginative psychological view is Carl Jung's. He identifies Jekyll's transformation as a case of "dissociation," a neurotic splitting in the psyche that threatened many repressed Victorians and that results from an unresolved projection of the shadow, a term Jung uses for unconscious elements of the personality that are either unpleasant or undeveloped.2 For while Stevenson could not have been fully aware of the implica-tions for modern psychology that his novel uncannily reveals, like Jung he clearly understood that the transformation of the scientist into a dwarfish, repulsive shadow is really metaphorical. It is metaphorical of the relationship between the unconscious and conscious sides of the psyche; accordingly, it depicts what happens to the psyche when it fails to achieve balance or—to use Jung's term—individuation and instead risks the open mental boundaries and self-fragmentation of schizophrenia.

Significantly, like other novelists in the Gothic tradition who paid close attention to the workings of their unconscious and used this intuitive knowledge to construct their plots, Stevenson drew heavily on his dream life. Not surprisingly, then, many of his attitudes toward his own "double being" anticipate Jungian ideas about the unconscious. In the essay "A Chapter on Dreams" (Across the Plains, 1892), Stevenson speaks of his "double life" as a college student, when he had dreams not only "more vivid" "than any printed book," but a "dream life" that "he had no means of proving to be false." Indeed, he goes so far as to maintain that his "Brownies"—who populate and personify his unconscious—"do one-half" of his creative work while he sleeps. In fact, since his "conscience ego" [sic] is "bemired up to the ears in actuality," he may be "no storyteller at all." If that is true, Stevenson concludes, "the whole of my published fiction" is "the single-handed product of some Brownie,… some unseen collaborator." The prime example of Stevenson's literary appropriation of dreams is of course Dr. Jekyll. Just as Horace Walpole and Mary Shelley found inspiration for their Gothic novels in their own nightmares and reveries, so too did Stevenson finally find his story of humanity's dual nature in his own unconscious. After two days of racking his brains for a plot, he dreamed the essence of his novel, his so-called "Gothic gnome": first, "the scene at the window" when Richard Enfield and Gabriel Utterson pass by Jekyll's house and speak with him through an open window until they glimpse the start of a transformation; and next, "a scene afterwards split in two, in which Hyde, pursued for some crime" (the murder of Sir Danvers Carew), takes "the powder" and undergoes "the change in the presence of his pursuers" (who in the novel are reduced to Dr. Hastie Lanyon, the sole witness of Jekyll's transformation).3


Dearest Katharine, Here, on a very little book and accompanied with your lame verses, I have put your name. Our kindness is now getting well on in years; it must be nearly of age; and it gets more valuable to me with every time I see you. It is not possible to express any sentiment, and it is not necessary to try at least between us. You know very well that I love you dearly, and that I always will. I only wish the verses were better, but at least you like the story; and it is sent to you by the one that loves you—Jekyll and not Hyde.


SOURCE: Stevenson, Robert Louis. An excerpt from a letter to Katharine de Mattos: 1 January 1886. In Selected Letters of Robert Louis Stevenson, edited by Ernest Mehew, p. 297. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1886.

Given the importance Stevenson places on dreams, the unconscious, and "man's double being," Jung's psychology proves a useful lens through which to interpret the novel. Because Jung's theory of individuation and dream analysis outlines a process of psychic growth, it illuminates how the Gothic psyche becomes decentered and ultimately self-disintegrates. As in Dr. Jekyll, the Gothic generally shows the importance of recognizing and integrating the unknown inner selves of the psyche; specifically, it dramatizes the psychological damage that results when the conscious personality denies its shadow, just as Jekyll denies his dark side, Hyde. The cautionary tale of Dr. Jekyll, then, clearly demonstrates the reader's need to assimilate the shadow into consciousness, and not only through its disastrous conclusion, in which Stevenson's hero destroys himself—and his doubled shadow—by rejecting it as other. The novel also manifests the need in other ways: through Jekyll's discovery of man's dual nature; through Jekyll's subsequent repression and deterioration and Hyde's simultaneous growth; and finally, through Hastie Lanyon's and Gabriel Utterson's contrasting responses to Jekyll's Hyde. Like Walton in Frankenstein, Utterson elicits the identification of the Gothic reader, who attends like Utterson to the cautionary tales of Jekyll and Lanyon and learns of the urgent need to understand what nightmares teach about "man's double being."

Jekyll's "Double Being"

Despite his eventual psychic disintegration, Henry Jekyll begins life auspiciously both professionally and personally; moreover, by scientifically pursuing the nature of his own double consciousness, he seems to entwine these often opposed sides of personality in a way that might have led to individuation, much as did Jung's own exploration of the unconscious, both his patients' and his own. Like Victor Frankenstein—a scientist whose work and character resemble Henry's—Dr. Jekyll was blessed by both nature and nurture: "I was born," he writes in his "Full Statement of the Case," in the 1800s "to a large fortune, endowed besides with excellent parts, inclined by nature to industry, fond of the respect of the wise and good among my fellowmen, and thus, as might have been supposed, with every guarantee of an honourable and distinguished future" (69). Like Victor's, Henry's ambition, training, and personal habits coincide to produce a major scientific discovery that extends the boundaries of human knowledge: whereas Frankenstein uncovers the origins of generation, thus bridging the boundary of life and death, Jekyll discovers the unconscious. Personally, Jekyll commits himself to duplicity, hiding his desires for pleasure—what he innocuously calls an "impatient gaiety" (69)—while adopting a persona crafted to advance him professionally, a head held high and "a more than commonly grave countenance" (69). These traits—arrogant ambition, moral righteousness, and awareness of his socially unacceptable desires—couple with his interest in transcendental medicine to help him find what no other scientist had seen: "that man is not truly one, but truly two"; furthermore, Jekyll recognizes that "of the two natures that contended in the field of [his] consciousness," he "could rightly be said to be either" one—the reputable, accomplished scientist or the profane, sensual primitive—"only because," he concludes, "I was radically both" (70).

Jekyll's ability to perceive and admit his duplicity, his public persona and private shadow, makes him unusually self-aware for a Victorian. He believes he "was in no sense a hypocrite" (70), and certainly before his experiment got out of hand he could be clearly distinguished from the typically repressed yet dutiful gentleman. Take, for instance, Enfield—"the well-known man about town" (6). When he encounters Hyde while walking home at 3:00 A.M., he loathes him "at first sight," comparing him to Satan. He reacts so negatively to Hyde partly because he has apparently just spent the night in taverns and brothels—a common, unacknowledged pastime of proper gentlemen, such as John Fowles's Charles Smithson in The French Lieutenant's Woman, who, though engaged to Ernestina Freeman, passes a wild night first getting drunk at his men's club and then picking up a prostitute. Consequently, to keep such carousing hidden in its place, the typical Victorian home served not only as a temple of domestic virtues, as Walter Houghton observes, but also, Irving Saposnik notes, as a screen "from the all-seeing eye of Mrs. Grundy." Caught away from home, the morally indignant Enfield covers up the exposure of his recent adventures by collaring Hyde after he tramples a little girl (8). And though Victorians like Enfield shrank from admitting their own duality, they faced duality daily in their city: one mid-century minister speaks of London as "at once the emporium of crime and the palladium of Christianity…. It is here that [virtue and vice] join issue in the most deadly proximity."4

Jekyll, then, proves extraordinarily courageous in facing his shadow. Like Jung, who explains in Memories, Dreams, Reflections that his reading of Faust awakened in him "the problem of opposites, of good and evil, of mind and matter, of light and darkness," Jekyll's experiments in transcendental medicine and reflections on his own dual nature evoke awareness of what Jung describes as "the dark side of his being, his sinister shadow," and his "own inner contradictions." "For most people," Joseph L. Henderson explains, "the dark or negative side of the personality remains unconscious,"5 and to recognize it, Jung emphasizes in Aion, requires "considerable moral effort."6 Unlike Jekyll, Enfield and Lanyon—two representative male Victorians—cannot bear to face their shadows, which they project onto Hyde. But facing the shadow is the first crucial step toward psychic integration.

In Jungian psychology, the first stage of the individuation process involves the experience of the shadow, whose sex usually matches that of the ego personality. The shadow is either symbolized by an inward figure, as in a Gothic dream like Stevenson's, or projected onto an actual figure met in the phenomenal world (Psychology and Religion, C.W. 11:75-79). Much as Mary Shelley represents the relations between Victor and his monster, Stevenson depicts Jekyll's experience with Hyde as both an inward image and an outward projection. On the one hand, Hyde is a "familiar" Jekyll "called out of [his] own soul" (76), "a brute that slept within" his nightmarish unconscious (86). On the other hand, he is a projection (74, 78) whose external existence as a real person is verified legally in Jekyll's will and socially by numerous people—the bank and the police as well as Jekyll's servants and even his friends and acquaintances such as Enfield, Lanyon, and Utterson. As either projection or dream image, Hyde embodies Jekyll's shadow—unpleasant, inferior traits, undeveloped or stunted functions, and contents of the personal unconscious that Jekyll has hidden and repressed; Hyde is the alter ego Jekyll had submerged in the unconscious while advancing his public career. However, in actively recognizing and retrieving his shadow from decades of repression, Jekyll stands on the threshold of overcoming his inferiority by assimilating Hyde into consciousness and thereby centering his imbalanced Self.

As Jekyll's shadow, Hyde represents more than just a buried capacity for evil; he manifests various weaknesses that Jekyll needs to recognize and correct as well as some positive qualities he has let atrophy. During an early transformation, Jekyll peers into a mirror—a common symbol of identity—and sees the smaller, younger, darker side of himself; though Hyde differs from Jekyll in appearance, when beholding the shadow Jekyll does not lose his identity. Rather, he deepens it, acknowledging that the "ugly idol in the glass" also lays claim to his psyche: "This, too," Jekyll confesses, "was myself" (73). Though Jekyll labels Hyde "pure evil," he recognizes that all humans "are commingled out of good and evil" (74), just as Jung writes that there is no doubt that humanity is "on the whole less good than" it "imagines" itself "or wants to be" (C.W. 11:76). However, at first, Hyde's worst sins amount merely to what Jekyll had been repressing: the desire for "gaiety." Jekyll recounts how while young he indulged "a certain gaiety of disposition," then later "concealed [his] pleasures" (69). Hyde initially indulges in "pleasures" that are simply "undignified" (76), perhaps less blamable than Enfield's unnamed nocturnal peccadilloes. In any case, this unleashed desire for pleasure compensates for "the dryness" and "self-denying toils" of the scientist's "life of study" (75, 82), and Hyde's self-centered intentions balance Jekyll's reputation as a self-sacrificing do-gooder (10).

Besides these negative aspects, Hyde, like Frankenstein's monster, also contains positive qualities—either undeveloped or lost—that Jekyll needs to assimilate to balance his personality. For one thing, when transformed as Hyde, Jekyll overcomes the "renunciation" and "restrictions of natural life" (82) demanded by his profession. He feels "natural" and "human" as Hyde (73), not only "younger, lighter" and "happier in body" (72) but also "livelier" in "spirit" (73). Hyde reconnects Jekyll to his primitive, sensual instincts and thus elicits eyewitness comparisons to "apes" (27, 88) and "a monkey" (52)—images of humanity's all but forgotten primordial roots that circulating ideas of Darwinian atavism surely brought to Stevenson's attention. As Jung puts it in Psychology and Religion, "We carry our past with us," namely "the primitive and inferior man with his desires and emotions." So if the shadow is inferior, it is not "obviously evil," for it includes primitive, childish traits that can "vitalize" an overly rational, conscious personality (C.W. 11:76-78).7

Accordingly, Jekyll needs to integrate Hyde into consciousness because what he represents compensates for Jekyll's overdeveloped scientific and moral persona. Jekyll grounds this side of himself on logos, which Jung describes as the male principle, comprising discrimination, cognition, detachment, and knowledge (C.W. 9.ii:14, 16; 13:41). Conversely, Jekyll's personality excludes eros, the feminine principle that encompasses human connectedness and relatedness. This imbalance inflates his ego and creates his vulnerability to divided consciousness, for while the noninflated ego retains the potential to align itself with the Self, the inflated ego appropriates the Self. According to Edward F. Edinger, inflation of the ego becomes apparent when someone "is transcending proper human limits." Clearly Jekyll's transcendental medicine, with its "high views," "exacting … aspirations" (69), and boundary-breaking experiments that no scientist can duplicate, feeds his inflation, just as Frankenstein's scientific ambitions to cross the boundary of life and death reveal his godlike inflation. Other symptoms of inflation that fit Jekyll are "too much arrogance," too much "altruism," and—especially in the guise of Hyde—too much selfishness.8 Hyde, then, presents Jekyll with a chance to adjust his attitude toward the parts of his psyche that he has been neglecting: his senses, his instincts, and his natural desires.

Several critics have argued that what Jekyll represses and then lets out through Hyde is the desire for pleasure, sex in particular. Stevenson, however, insisted that "Hyde was not … a mere voluptuary" and that even if he were, "there is no harm in a voluptuary." Moreover, "the harm was in Jekyll"—not Hyde—and it was "because he was a hypocrite—not because he was fond of women." The almost complete absence of women in the novel does suggest that Jekyll has repressed his sexuality, even if Stevenson never indicates it.9 More important, though, the lack of women in the novel underscores Jekyll's underdeveloped eros. While he manages to achieve consciousness of his shadow problem, he never so much as glimpses his deeper psychological problem—an undeveloped anima. In this way, Henry is like the Gothic protagonist Victor Frankenstein, who also distorts his rational, scientific faculties to the obsessive point of almost completely withdrawing from society and, as a result, allows his unresolved shadow problem with the Monster to deepen into an anima complex involving his dead mother, Caroline, the mother-substitute Justine, and his "more than sister"/fiancée, Elizabeth.

Barbara Hannah remarks on "the absence of any important feminine figures" in Dr. Jekyll, but perhaps she goes too far in asserting that the only anima figure is "Hyde's purely negative landlady."10 In fact, three females appear in Stevenson's narrative, and each signals Jekyll's detachment from the feminine principle. The little girl that Hyde tramples is running to get a doctor when their paths abruptly and violently intersect (8), a suggestion that Jekyll' s anima is not only unripe but also in dire need of nurturing and healing. Later we learn of the old woman who lives in Hyde's Soho apartment building; her distaste for Hyde as well as her advanced age and infertility imply that Jekyll's anima is hopelessly barren (29-30). Though seemingly contradictory, both these images of the anima convey infertility. The most revealing anima figure, however, is the maid who witnesses Hyde's murder of Sir Danvers Carew. Before it happens, Stevenson describes her as romantically gazing out her window at the moon, a common symbol of the feminine and, through its circular shape, a sign of the wholeness of the Self. She notes the gentleness of the old man, whose stature as member of Parliament and inherent civility link him with the Wise Old Man archetype. When Hyde destroys him and the maid loses consciousness, it is as if Hyde were destroying Jekyll's last chance to consciously connect with his anima and to center his Self (26-27). So while Jekyll's intellectual detachment entails avoidance of sex, his lack of sex is really a symptom of a greater deficiency—an undeveloped eros, an anima undifferentiated in the unconscious. In reacting to Hyde's uncontrollable, murderous violence, Jekyll goes into seclusion. Thus Jekyll is as far away as could be from the Sacred Marriage, which symbolizes the integration of logos and eros and constitutes individuation of the Self.11 It is no surprise that during Jekyll's last days sequestered in the lab, the butler says he hears "it weeping," "weeping like a woman or a lost soul" (54, my emphasis). In the end of his Gothic nightmare, Jekyll not only loses the chance to eventually expand his identity to include the shadow and anima (the feminine or soul-image he loses); he even loses identity altogether, which becomes undifferentiated from the "it" (Id) of oceanic unconsciousness.

Jekyll's Self-Destructive Repression of Hyde

But before a man can face and attempt to absorb the anima, he must successfully assimilate the shadow, which Jekyll fails to do. To be sure, Jekyll bravely delves into his unconscious, acknowledging his dark side as an element of his dual identity. Jekyll's problem is that he fails to incorporate his shadow, and instead—after his initial delight in renewing long-repressed pleasures and instincts—he rejects Hyde as other. As Jung points out—to cite Anthony Storr—the acts of bringing "the repressed tendencies" into conscious awareness and of "confessing the less desirable aspects of personality which the shadow portrays [do] not rid us of them."12 Indeed, rather than trying to integrate his shadow, Jekyll tries to get rid of it. First he turns his scientific efforts toward separating the dual elements of his psyche (71), and then, when Hyde turns from being merely merry to monstrous, he tries to repress him. And though initially Jekyll seems successful, he really only worsens his psychosis, intensifying the imbalance of his Gothic psyche.

Despite realizing that his "two natures" contend in the same "field" of "consciousness," Jekyll finds this consciousness an "agonised womb" and so wants to dissociate "these polar twins." He decides to house each in a "separate" identity (70-71). Accordingly, he furnishes Hyde with his own separate residence in Soho. Until the murder of Carew, Jekyll's separation seems to work, as he counters his dry life in the lab with Hyde's selfish pleasures, drawing vicarious amusement from them. Through his dual identities, Jekyll brags, he "could plod in the public eye with a load of genial respectability" and by drinking his potion could "doff at once the body of the noted professor," springing "headlong" as Hyde "into the sea of liberty" (75). This comment of Jekyll's describes his psychological state when Utterson finds him "quite at ease" after one of the "pleasant dinners" (23) the doctor gives just before the murder.

However, by separating his identity as Hyde from his identity as Jekyll, the scientist represses Hyde. In turn, this repression creates a growing psychic imbalance and makes Hyde monstrous. The less dignified Hyde's pleasures become, the more Jekyll divides himself from Hyde. Before the murder, Utterson tries to persuade Jekyll, his client as well as his friend, to confide in him about Hyde, but Jekyll insists that it is a "private matter" and refuses to speak of him (25). "Let it sleep," he commands Utterson, as if explicitly urging that they repress all thoughts of Hyde, burying him in the unconscious. After the murder, Jekyll rejects Hyde altogether: he tells Utterson that he is "done with him" and that "I cannot say I care what becomes of Hyde" (33). So divided from Hyde does Jekyll grow that Jekyll "stood at times aghast before the acts of Edward Hyde" and judged "Hyde alone" as "guilty" (76). Hence, having failed to assimilate the shadow, Jekyll begins to resemble Jung's "highly moral people, unaware of their other side, who develop particularly hellish moods" (Psychology and Religion, C.W. 11:76). Moreover, by clinging to his moral standing as "Dr. Jekyll," Jekyll refuses to accept Hyde as part of their shared consciousness, a repression that in turn makes Hyde a murderous monster. As Jung explains in The Practice of Psychotherapy, the psyche becomes divided and produces "monsters" when consciousness, like Jekyll's, refuses to accept the unconscious. Although "the unconscious is not a demoniacal monster," the shadow "becomes dangerous when our conscious attitude to it is hopelessly wrong," as Jekyll's surely is. Furthermore, Jung adds, "to the degree we repress" the shadow, "its danger increases" (C.W. 16:152).

After the murder, Hyde's danger to the terror-stricken Jekyll continuously increases. At this point, Jekyll loses confidence in himself, as he puts it to Utterson (34), and also loses his balance (79, 83) and control of his "original and better self" (79). In effect, his weakening ego begins to collapse into the unconscious. Lanyon diagnoses Jekyll as suffering from "a cerebral disease" (64), and indeed, as if growing psychotic, he loses the ability to distinguish between waking and sleeping—a characteristic common to both schizophrenics and chronic nightmare sufferers whose mental boundaries are thin, open, and permeable. For instance, Jekyll comes "home to [his] own house" "partly in a dream," and when he then slumbers, he is wrung by "nightmares" (86). Moreover, if he goes to sleep as Jekyll, "it was always as Hyde that [he] awakened" (86-87). Other manifestations of the Gothic experience of open boundaries include the fog in Soho that makes Hyde's neighborhood resemble "some city in a nightmare" (28-29) and Jekyll's constant shifting between first and third pronouns to refer to Hyde after the murder (81-85). These images of open boundaries signify that, as Hyde, Jekyll experiences the liminal. In Victor Turner's formulation, the liminal can be creative and regenerative if followed by a stage of reintegration with normal society or, psychologically, with normal consciousness—as it is for Walton in Frankenstein. The liminal liberates "human capacities" from social "constraints." However, it also involves danger and disorder and may be the scene of breakdown and destruction. Clearly, for Jekyll, the liminal results in no rebounding or re-membering, only in Gothic disintegration, for he is unable to respond positively to the liminal's duality.13

Progressively, then, Hyde the shadow grows bigger the longer he is repressed, and as Jekyll the ego weakens, Hyde's powers strengthen (87). Hyde even assumes the power to transform physically into Jekyll without warning and without pharmaceutical stimulus. This physical autonomy parallels how Jekyll's unconscious dominates his psyche and precipitates his breakdown. Because Jekyll's ego essentially coincides with his persona, as Jung explains in Psychological Types, "it can have no conscious relation to the unconscious processes," for in fact "it is these processes"; moreover, Jung points out, "anyone who is himself his outward role will infallibly succumb to the inner processes," a situation Jung calls enantiodromia, which literally means "running backwards" and refers to "the emergence of the unconscious opposite" (C.W. 6:470, 426). Even before the murder, Jekyll realizes, "That part of me which I had the power of projecting, had lately been much exercised and nourished; it had seemed to me of late as though the body of Edward Hyde had grown in stature … and I began to spy a danger that, if this were much prolonged, the balance of my nature might be permanently overthrown" (78-79). Indeed, at the close of this passage, Jekyll intuits that it is already too late, that his ego is sinking into the uroboric unconscious: "All things therefore seemed to point to this; that I was slowly losing hold of my original and better self, and becoming slowly incorporated with my second and worse" (79). He becomes "a creature eaten up" and is "solely occupied by one thought: the horror of my other self" (87). Finally, on the novel's last page, Jekyll's expectation is met, as he ends anticipating the permanent metamorphosis from his form into Hyde's, thereby completing his Gothic disintegration and his ego's collapse into the unconscious.

Lanyon's Disintegration and Utterson's Growth

Like Henry Jekyll, the Scottish doctor Hastie Lanyon—his fellow scientist and estranged friend—experiences a complete psychic, as well as physical, disintegration when faced with the shadow, Mr. Hyde. As Saposnik notes, "Lanyon is afraid to admit vital truths about himself," and when he encounters their symbolic representation in the form of Hyde, "he cannot struggle with their emergence." Saposnik brands Lanyon a "coward," perhaps because, unlike Jekyll, Lanyon cannot even acknowledge the shadow; and Masao Miyoshi, equally harsh with Lanyon, attacks him and the rest of Stevenson's men as "joyless."14 But I think these critics overstate the flaws in Lanyon's character. If we can trust the omniscient narrator, Lanyon indeed possesses a "geniality" that rests "on genuine feeling" (14). Moreover, considering their strained relations, Lanyon's response to Jekyll's urgent cry for help is not less than generous when, without demanding an explanation, he retrieves a drawer of chemicals from Jekyll's lab, then waits for the "unnamed man" to appear on his doorstep at midnight. And even if his decision to witness Hyde's desperate drinking of the potion smacks of what Hyde calls greedy curiosity (67), to his credit Lanyon has humanely fulfilled Jekyll's opaque request. Rather, then, Lanyon's real flaw is that, like Jekyll, he has repressed part of his personality and developed a one-sided attachment to what is rational, empirical, and conventional. As a result, Lanyon is vulnerable to the sudden unexpected encounter with his shadow, which he has so rigidly repressed and rejected that his Gothic psyche divides, thus making the shadow an ego-consuming monstrosity.

While Lanyon has enjoyed considerable public success as a doctor, he has ignored and left undeveloped other sides of his imbalanced psyche. Like Jekyll, Lanyon is professionally accomplished: Utterson refers to "his crowding patients" and not only locates Lanyon's office in "that citadel of medicine" but precedes Lanyon's name with the epithet "great" (14). His success stems not from ingenious interdisciplinary experimentation that advances knowledge but from a logical, "narrow" adherence to what Jekyll labels "material views" (67). In Jekyll's opinion, Lanyon is an "ignorant" and "hide-bound pedant" (24); he is a kind of logical positivist, like Stoker's Dr. John Seward, who accepts as truth only whatever can be proven empirically, only whatever is sensible and reasonable. Hence, just as Seward rejects Dr. Van Helsing's use of folklore, superstition, and ritual to diagnose and treat Lucy Westenra's "mental condition," Lanyon rejects Jekyll's research in transcendental medicine as "unscientific balderdash" (15). Having overdeveloped his logos—whose principles include cognition and knowledge—Lanyon remains ignorant of his own buried capacities to appreciate the mystical and the intuitive. A lifelong bachelor like Brontë's Lockwood, he also stays blind to the workings of his anima, and this blighted potential contributes to his inability to reconnect with his estranged friend Henry Jekyll. But, as I said of Jekyll, first the shadow must be faced and assimilated. Thus Stevenson symbolizes Lanyon's intolerant view of Jekyll's research, which is mystical and transcendental, in two ways: through the projection of Lanyon's unconscious prejudices and weaknesses onto Hyde, the product of Jekyll's experiment; and through Lanyon's disgust upon seeing Hyde. As Colin Manlove puts it, what Lanyon is "violently responding to is" the Hyde in himself.15

Lanyon's inability to deal with his unconscious—and its unpleasant, long-hidden contents—manifests itself both in his repeated repression of Jekyll/Hyde and in the lethal Gothic terror Hyde instills in him. Lanyon can bear to think of Jekyll neither in his conversation nor in his written narrative. When Utterson visits Lanyon after Jekyll has permanently shut himself up in the upstairs lab, Lanyon twice objects to the mention of his former friend. First he tells Utterson, "I wish to see or hear no more of Dr. Jekyll" since he is "quite done with that person" (40)—a telling echo of what Jekyll has previously told Utterson about Hyde (33). Next, more passionately and unreasonably, Lanyon insists, "If you cannot keep clear of [the] accursed topic [of Jekyll], then in God's name, go, for I cannot bear it" (40). Even in his written narrative—which he can control as he cannot control the dialogue with Utterson—Lanyon again twice strains to repress traces of Jekyll/Hyde: he "cannot bring," he says, his "mind to set on paper" what Jekyll told him, for "even in memory," he "cannot … dwell on it without a start of horror" (68). As Jung writes, "to the degree we repress" the shadow "its danger increases"; accordingly, the more Lanyon represses Hyde and what he represents as a complement to Lanyon's conscious, logocentric, scientific point of view, the sicker his soul—which means psyche—becomes. Ultimately, Lanyon betrays the signs of psychic disintegration. Like the mind of a sufferer of nightmares or schizophrenia, his Gothic mind is "submerged in terror" (68). Having witnessed the melting and altering of Hyde's physical boundaries (67-68), Lanyon loses his own psychic integrity, his dissolving mental boundaries mirroring the open, permeable relation of Hyde to Jekyll once Jekyll loses control of his "better self." The haunting images of Jekyll's Gothic destruction even ruin Lanyon's sleep: the "deadliest terror sits by [him] at all hours of day and night," blurring the line between the conscious and the unconscious, a boundary that stays intact in healthy people. Consequently, he realizes he "must die" (68), and like Jekyll, he does, the ego nightmarishly swallowed into the unconscious.

Unlike his scientific friends Lanyon and Jekyll, Gabriel Utterson grows psychologically from the crisis with Edward Hyde, as Walton does from his encounter with Frankenstein and the Monster. Some critics attack Utterson as dishonest and hypocritical, joyless and repressed, and even regressively Oedipal and subversive toward his friends.16 However, Utterson alone among the novel's characters is able to deepen his self-knowledge and—with obvious limits—use it to help others. It is Utterson's ignorance of Hyde—symbolically a part of his own unconscious—that first drives him on his quest to unmask Hyde and to save Henry Jekyll from Hyde's domination. After learning from Enfield of Hyde's savage stomping of the little girl and of his questionable use of Dr. Jekyll to acquit his liability for it, Utterson, like Stevenson, dreams of Hyde. This presence of Hyde as an image in Utterson's unconscious clearly indicates his role as shadow to Utterson's persona. As with Jekyll and Lanyon, the encounter with Hyde serves to provoke a self-examination in Utterson. But not only does Utterson dream of Hyde, he also remembers the dream and acts on it, thus initiating a process of assimilation that can lead to greater psychic awareness and wholeness. In the Gothic narrative, then, Utterson operates as a go-between with the reader, like Walton in Frankenstein and Lockwood in Wuthering Heights. Though Utterson is the centered consciousness of Stevenson's third-person narration and not (like Walton) a narrator himself, he nonetheless responds positively to the archetypal images of Jekyll's and Lanyon's cautionary tales; that is, he strives to draw them into consciousness, where they can strengthen his psyche. Like a Gothic reader and a Jungian analyst, Utterson attends to Jekyll's and Lanyon's stories and perceives in them what Jung calls "the substratum of" his "own nature."

Following his dream—an unconscious call to broaden his consciousness—Utterson attempts to understand the dream and decides to satisfy his curiosity to see Hyde, decides to "lighten the mystery" and to find "a reason" (16). He resolves to be "Mr. Seek" to compensate for "Mr. Hyde." Consequently, he stands watch waiting for Hyde once again to enter the side entrance to Jekyll's lab, as Enfield saw him do. When Utterson finally catches him, Utterson reacts as do all the others—the "sawbones" doctor, Enfield, Lanyon: he immediately recoils with disgust and identifies Hyde with Satan (18-20), thus projecting his shadow onto him. But unlike the others, Utterson does not repress Hyde to escape his nameless sense of this "foul soul" (20); instead, he passes a sleepless night of self-examination. His encounter with Hyde causes him to exhume from his unconscious the ghosts of his old sins, which humble him. Facing his own repressed shortcomings, Utterson withdraws his projected shadow and realizes that even Hyde must "hide" black secrets. In other words, Utterson knows everyone harbors a dark side, a realization like Jekyll's that all humans have dual natures. Moreover, Utterson understands that only when the dark side is exposed can one's vulnerability to it be outgrown. This intuitive epiphany leads Utterson to prod Jekyll into spending less time "indoors," a place that becomes synonymous with Jekyll's unhealthy solipsistic withdrawal into his unconscious self, Edward Hyde. It is as if Utterson were prodding Jekyll to acknowledge Hyde rather than repress him.

Because this Gothic tale ends abruptly with the discovery of Jekyll and Hyde's death, it remains indeterminate whether Utterson would have progressed toward fuller psychic integrity. From a Jungian point of view, one problem with prognosticating Utterson's psychic fate is that he does not tell his "own wholly personal story," and as Jung maintains in Memories, Dreams, Reflections, the patient's story is what is "crucial" to therapy. Moreover, there is no place in the novel where Utterson appears prepared for the second stage of individuation, which when successful results in the assimilation of anima images. In fact, if Jekyll appears remote from the realm of feminine influence, Utterson the avuncular bachelor is cut off from it completely. Still, unlike Jekyll, he maintains a desire to connect with others; most dramatically, when Poole, Jekyll's butler, is leading him to the lab to witness Jekyll's final disintegra-tion, Utterson wishes "to see and touch his fellow-creatures" (46). It seems reasonable to conjecture that Utterson's attempts to balance the inner and outer worlds ensure his survival and sanity, even if they do not guarantee the psychic equilibrium ultimately earned by survivors of Dracula's Gothic nightmare—namely, Mina and Jonathan Harker. Still, several aspects of Utterson's personality point toward his readiness to begin the process of individuation. Besides his dream, he twice exhibits acute intuition. One instance accompanies the desire to connect with fellow creatures while approaching Jekyll's lab: "Struggle as he might," Stevenson reports, "there was borne in upon [Utterson's] mind a crushing anticipation of calamity" (46). Significantly, this intuition of Jekyll's suicidal destruction parallels Utterson's first meeting with Hyde. During his stakeout, Utterson hears footsteps, and "with a strong prevision of success" he withdraws "into the entry of the court," where seconds later, as he uncannily knew he would, he faces Mr. Hyde (17-18). This example indicates how alert Utterson is to the images of the unconscious and how well equipped he is to avoid the kind of psychic collapse suffered by Jekyll and Lanyon.

In addition to his openness to these promptings of the unconscious, Utterson seems well equipped for an encounter with the shadow by the natural tendencies of his personality. Stevenson stresses Utterson's "tolerance for others" and his readiness "to help" rather than judge them (5). Moreover, as Edwin Eigner and Barbara Hannah have remarked, the first doppelgänger we meet in the narrative is not that of Jekyll and Hyde but of Utterson and the "the well-known man about town," his distant relative Richard Enfield.17 Though to others they appear to have nothing in common, so strong a bond unites these opposites that they consider their time together "the chief jewel of each week" (6). Fittingly, Utterson is with his social opposite Enfield when he last sees Jekyll and urges him to come outside before Utterson glimpses the start of a transformation. Indeed, repeatedly Utterson has tried to steer his friend from his regressive retreat into Hyde's control, though of course not fully realizing the true nature of Jekyll and Hyde's archetypal relation. Utterson's willingness to deal with Hyde—as Jekyll's shadow and by extension his own—climaxes with his courageous decision to break down the door to the lab and enter this space symbolic of the monstrous unconscious ("The Last Night"). Here his ability to face the shadow and expose it correlates with Jung's statement that it takes "considerable moral effort" to assimilate the shadow into the conscious personality. So if Jekyll and Lanyon fail to make the necessary moral effort and are thus destroyed, Utterson at the least has faced the shadow squarely, lightening its darkness by assimilating the bits of understanding cast upon it by his own experience and the experiences of Lanyon and Jekyll as recounted in their Gothic narratives.

Though Henry Jekyll faces his shadow, Edward Hyde, and so discovers the psyche's dual identities, he mistakenly attempts to maintain their separation. Consequently, instead of tempering the moral, analytic side of his conscious personality with the natural desires of the shadow, Jekyll stiffens the one identity while utterly rejecting the other. By repressing what Hyde represents, Jekyll not only strays from the path to individuation but worse makes Hyde into a murderous monster. After Hyde breaks all bounds and murders Sir Danvers Carew, Jekyll tells Utterson, "I have had a lesson" (33). Tragically, however, Jekyll either does not learn from it or, what is more likely, never understands it in the first place. Nevertheless, the lesson of Jekyll's cautionary tale is not lost on Stevenson's Gothic reader.

Barbara Hannah interprets Jekyll's failure to consciously integrate the shadow figure as expressing Stevenson's own psychological failure: "It was probably not possible at [the time of writing Dr. Jekyll ] for Stevenson to realize … that this was essentially his own problem." If he had realized his "mistake," Hannah continues, he would have made a "serious attempt to find a solution" in the novel. But in conflating the character's psyche with the author's, Hannah overlooks the possibility that Stevenson intended not simply to write "a successful thriller" but instead to warn readers of the Gothic fate of ignoring "the war in the members."18 In fact, in his essay "Lay Morals," Stevenson sounds like Jung in asserting the need to balance the various parts of the psyche—the only possible solution to Jekyll's Gothic problem. Stevenson states, "[The soul] demands that we should not live alternately with our opposing tendencies in continued see-saw of passion and disgust, but seek some path on which the tendencies shall no longer oppose, but serve each other to common end…. The soul demands unity of purpose, not the dismemberment of man" (2:179). While Stevenson plots the psychic dismemberment of man through Jekyll and Lanyon, he provides the solution Hannah calls for through Utterson, who learns—as the two scientists do not—the cautionary lesson of unifying "the thorough and primitive duality" of human consciousness (70).


1. See Albert J. Guerard, "Concepts of the Double," 8-9; and Robert Rogers, A Psychoanalytic Study of the Double in Literature, 93-94; Robert Louis Stevenson, Across the Plains, 227.

2. See Morton Prince, Psychotherapy and Multiple Personality, 197, 201; and Jeremy Hawthorn, Multiple Personality and the Disintegration of Literary Character, 62-63. Also see C. F. Keppler, The Literature of the Second Self, 8-9. Hawthorn stresses that a person's multiple personalities not only display "contradictory behavior patterns" but also have "different and mutually exclusive memories," 2. Significantly, Stevenson's Jekyll underscores that his "two natures had memory in common," 10:79. This and the following references in the text to The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and to Stevenson's other works, unless otherwise noted, are from The Works of Robert Louis Stevenson. For Jung's comment, see Man and His Symbols, 7. Other brief links of Jung to Dr. Jekyll include those by Mark M. Hennelly Jr., "Stevenson's 'Silent Symbols' of the 'Fatal Cross Roads' in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde," 10; Erich Neumann, The Origins and History of Consciousness, 98; Harold Schechter, The New Gods, 38; Clifton Snider, The Stuff That Dreams Are Made On, 15. In her often insightful study Striving towards Wholeness, Barbara Hannah devotes an entire chapter to interpreting Stevenson's life and works from a Jungian viewpoint. However, as a practicing psychoanalyst, Hannah is more interested in speculating on ways his story reveals the state of his psyche than in close textual analysis.

3. Stevenson, "A Chapter on Dreams," in Across the Plains, 211, 225-28; he uses the phrase "Gothic gnome" in a letter to W. H. Low, Works, 30:278.

4. John Fowles, The French Lieutenant's Woman, 300-325; Walter E. Houghton, The Victorian Frame of Mind 1830–1870, 343; Irving Saposnik, Robert Louis Stevenson, 96, 90.

5. Carl G. Jung, Memories, Dreams, Reflections, 235; Joseph L. Henderson, "Ancient Myths and Modern Man," 118-20.

6. Jung, The Collected Works of C. G. Jung, 9.ii:8. Except where noted otherwise, all quotations of Jung's writings are from this source. Further citations appear parenthetically as C.W. and are followed by volume and page numbers.

7. See also C.W. 9.i:284-85; C.W. 9.ii:266-67. See Douglas Thorpe, "Calvin, Darwin, and the Double"; and Charles Blinderman, "Vampurella."

8. Edward F. Edinger, Ego and Archetype, 14-15.

9. Stevenson quoted by George S. Hellman, The True Stevenson, 129. See William Veeder's "Children of the Night," 139-48; Stephen Heath, "Psychopathia Sexualis."

10. Hannah, 55.

11. See C.W. 11:439. As Benjamin G. Lockerd Jr. notes, it is "out of the wholeness of the Sacred Marriage that the highest symbol of the Self can arise." See The Sacred Marriage, 185.

12. Anthony Storr, The Essential Jung, 87.

13. On the relations of mental boundaries to schizophrenia and bad dreams, see Ernest Hartmann, The Nightmare. Victor Turner, From Ritual to Theatre, 41, 44, 46, 84.

14. Saposnik, 93, 92; Masao Miyoshi, The Divided Self, 297.

15. Colin Manlove, "'Closer Than an Eye,'" 94.

16. See Daniel V. Fraustino, "The Not So Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde," 207-8; Miyoshi, 297; William Patrick Day, In the Circles of Fear and Desire, 92; Veeder, 109.

17. Edwin Eigner, Robert Louis Stevenson and the Romantic Tradition, 145; Hannah, 52-54.

18. Hannah, 51; letter to John Addington Symonds, Works 30:292.

Works Consulted

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Edinger, Edward F. Ego and Archetype. 1972. Reprinted, Baltimore: Penguin, 1973.

Eigner, Edwin. Robert Louis Stevenson and the Romantic Tradition. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1966.

Fowles, John. The French Lieutenant's Woman. Boston and Toronto: Little, Brown, 1969.

Fraustino, Daniel V. "The Not So Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde." Journal of Evolutionary Psychology 5 (1984): 205-9.

Freud, Sigmund. The Interpretation of Dreams. Edited and translated by James Strachey. New York: Avon, 1965.

Guerard, Albert J. "Concepts of the Double." In Stories of the Double, edited by Albert J. Guerard, 1-14. Philadelphia and New York: Lippincott, 1967.

Hannah, Barbara. Striving towards Wholeness. 2d ed. Boston: Sigo Press, 1988.

Hartmann, Ernest. The Nightmare: The Psychology and Biology of Terrifying Dreams. New York: Basic Books, 1984.

Hawthorn, Jeremy. Multiple Personality and the Disintegration of Literary Character. New York: St. Martin's, 1983.

Heath, Stephen. "Psychopathia Sexualis: Stevenson's Strange Case." Critical Inquiry 28 (1986): 93-108.

Hellman, George S. The True Stevenson: A Study in Clarification. Boston: Little, Brown, 1925.

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Jung, Carl G. Collected Works of C. G. Jung. Edited by Sir Herbert Read et al. Translated by R. F. C. Hull. Bollingen Series 20, 20 vols. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1953–79.

――――――. Memories, Dreams, Reflections. Edited by Aniela Jaffé. Translated by Richard and Clara Winston. 2d ed. New York: Vintage, 1965.

――――――, ed. Man and His Symbols. 1964. Reprinted, New York: Dell, 1968.

Keppler, C. F. The Literature of the Second Self. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1972.

Lockerd, Benjamin G., Jr. The Sacred Marriage: Psychic Integration in "The Faerie Queene." Lewisburg, Pa.: Bucknell University Press, 1987.

Manlove, Colin. "'Closer Than an Eye': The Interconnections of Stevenson's Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde." Studies in Scottish Literature 23 (1988): 97-103.

Miyoshi, Masao. The Divided Self: A Perspective on the Literature of the Victorians. New York: New York University Press, 1969.

Neumann, Erich. Depth Psychology and a New Ethic. Translated by Eugene Rolfe. New York: Published for the C. G. Jung Foundation for Analytical Psychology by G. P. Putnam's, 1969.

――――――. The Great Mother: An Analysis of the Archetype. Translated by Ralph Manheim. 2d ed. Bollingen Series 47. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1963.

――――――. The Origins and History of Consciousness. Translated by R. F. C. Hull. Bollingen Series 42. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1954.

Prince, Morton. Psychotherapy and Multiple Personality. Edited by Nathan G. Hale Jr. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1975.

Rogers, Robert. A Psychoanalytic Study of the Double in Literature. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1970.

Saposnik, Irving. Robert Louis Stevenson. Boston: Twayne, 1974.

Schechter, Harold. The New Gods: Psyche and Symbol in Popular Art. Bowling Green, Ohio: Bowling Green State University Popular Press, 1980.

Snider, Clifton. The Stuff That Dreams Are Made On: A Jungian Interpretation of Literature. Wilmette, IL: Chiron Publications, 1991.

Stevenson, Robert Louis. Across the Plains. 1892. Reprinted, New York: Scribner's, 1914.

――――――. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Vol. 10 of The Works of Robert Louis Stevenson. South Seas Edition. 32 vols. New York: Scribner's, 1925.

――――――. The Works of Robert Louis Stevenson. South Seas Edition. 32 vols. New York: Scribner's, 1925.

Storr, Anthony. Introduction to The Essential Jung, selected by Anthony Storr. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1983.

Thorpe, Douglas. "Calvin, Darwin, and the Double: The Problem of Divided Nature in Hogg, MacDonald, and Stevenson." Newsletter of Victorian Studies Association of Western Canada 11, no. 1 (1985): 6-22.

Turner, Victor. From Ritual to Theatre: The Human Seriousness of Play. New York: Performing Arts Journal Publications, 1982.

Veeder, William. "Children of the Night: Stevenson and Patriarchy." In Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde after One Hundred Years, edited by William Veeder and Gordon Hirsch, 107-60. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 1988.



Swearingen, Roger G. The Prose Writings of Robert Louis Stevenson: A Guide. Hamden, Conn.: Archon Books, 1980, 217 p.

Full-length bibliography of primary and secondary sources.


Bell, Ian. Dreams of Exile: Robert Louis Stevenson, a Biography. New York: Henry Holt, 1995, 296 p.

Full-length biography of Stevenson.

Calder, Jenni. Robert Louis Stevenson: A Life Study. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1980, 362 p.

Biographical study focused on Stevenson's literary career and influences.

McLynn, Frank. Robert Louis Stevenson: A Biography. New York: Random House, 1994, 567 p.

Well-regarded and comprehensive biography of Stevenson.


Block, Ed. "James Sully, Evolutionist Psychology, and Late Victorian Gothic Fiction." Victorian Studies 25, no. 4 (summer 1982): 443-67.

Analyzes Stevenson's novella The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and short stories "The Merry Men" and "Olalla" with respect to late Victorian evolutionist psychology and its theories regarding psychological aberration.

Brantlinger, Patrick and Richard Boyle. "The Education of Edward Hyde: Stevenson's 'Gothic Gnome' and the Mass Readership of Late-Victorian England." In Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde after One Hundred Years, edited by William Veeder and Gordon Hirsch, pp. 265-82. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1988.

Reads The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde "as an unconscious 'allegory' about the commercialization of literature and the emergence of a mass consumer society in the late-Victorian period."

Brantlinger, Patrick. "Imperial Gothic: Atavism and the Occult in the British Adventure Novel, 1880–1914." In Rule of Darkness: British Literature and Imperialism, 1830–1914, pp. 227-54. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1988.

Discusses The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde as an "imperial Gothic fantasy," equating Hyde's actions with the degenerate behavior of colonials who "go native."

Doane, Janice Devon Hodges. "Demonic Disturbances of Sexual Identity: The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr/s Hyde." Novel: A Forum on Fiction 23 (1989): 63-74.

Relates the theme of the demonic "other" in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde to Victorian concerns about shifts in traditional gender roles.

Dryden, Linda. "'City of Dreadful Night': Stevenson's Gothic London." In The Modern Gothic and Literary Doubles: Stevenson, Wilde and Wells, pp. 74-108. Basingstoke, England: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003.

Studies the sources and expression of gothicism in Stevenson's works, particularly in The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

Egan, Joseph J. "The Relationship of Theme and Art in The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde." English Literature in Transition, 1880–1920 10 (1967): 28-32.

Suggests that the artistic design and structure of Stevenson's story supports its central theme "that Dr. Jekyll himself is both good and evil."

Eigner, Edwin M. Robert Louis Stevenson and Romantic Tradition. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1966, 258 p.

Finds Stevenson's fiction "closely related to … the nineteenth century prose romance." Eigner defines that tradition, as well as Stevenson's place within it, through comparisons with other works.

Hennelly, Jr., Mark M. "Stevenson's 'Silent Symbols' of the 'Fatal Cross Roads' in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde." Gothic 1, no. 1 (June 1979): 10-16.

Studies mythologized and Jungian symbols of the crossroads and the wasteland in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

Herdman, John. "The Double in Decline." In The Double in Nineteenth-Century Fiction, pp. 129-31. London: Macmillan, 1990.

Probes Stevenson's use of the doppelgänger motif in "Markheim."

Jolly, Roslyn. "South Sea Gothic: Pierre Loti and Robert Louis Stevenson." English Literature in Transition, 1880–1920 47, no. 1 (2004): 28-49.

Surveys Gothic elements derived from the juxtaposition of Polynesian supernaturalism and western rationalist materialism depicted in Stevenson's "The Beach of Falesá" and Loti's The Marriage of Loti.

Kempton, Kenneth Payton. "Plausibility." In The Short Story, pp. 172-88. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.

Identifies the principal theme of Stevenson's "Markheim" as the "conquest of a man by his conscience" and studies the narrative elements of the short story.

Lawler, Donald. "Reframing Jekyll and Hyde: Robert Louis Stevenson and the Strange Case of Gothic Fiction." In Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde after One Hundred Years, edited by William Veeder and Gordon Hirsch, pp. 247-61. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1988.

Describes The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde as an early transitional work in the tradition of Gothic science fiction.

MacAndrew, Elizabeth. "The Victorian Hall of Mirrors." In The Gothic Tradition in Fiction, pp. 151-329. New York: Columbia University Press, 1979.

Views Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde as exemplary of the late nineteenth-century integration of Gothic effects into social novels.

Maixner, Paul. Robert Louis Stevenson: The Critical Heritage. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1981, 532 p.

Collects significant early reviews and commentary on Stevenson's principal works.

Massie, Irving. "The Third Self: Dracula, Jekyll and Hyde, 'Lokis.'" In The Gaping Pig: Literature and Metamorphosis, pp. 98-114. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1976.

Argues that the action of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde derives from the unity rather than duality of the central character, who in tampering with his own unified nature, incorporating both good and evil, allowed only evil to remain.

McAlpin, Edwin A. "Sin and Consequences." In Old and New Books as Life Teachers, pp. 36-49. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, Doran, and Co., 1928.

Asserts that Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde demonstrates that indulgence in sin will destroy the ability to distinguish between right and wrong.

Menikoff, Barry. "Introduction: Fable, Fiction, and Modernism." In Robert Louis Stevenson: Tales from the Prince of Storytellers, by Robert Louis Stevenson, pp. 29-35. Evanston, Ill.: Northwestern University Press, 1993.

Characterizes "Markheim" as an allegorical representation of "the struggle of good and evil for the heart of man."

Meyers, Jeffrey. Introduction to The Body Snatcher and Other Stories, by Robert Louis Stevenson, edited by Jeffrey Meyers, pp. vii-xviii. New York: New American Library, 1988.

Surveys the themes, styles, and plots of Stevenson's short stories.

Miyoshi, Masao. "Masks in the Mirror: The Eighteen Nineties." In The Divided Self: A Perspective on the Literature of the Victorians, pp. 289-340. New York: New York University Press, 1969.

Includes discussion of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and "Markheim" in examining the double or secret self in Victorian literature.

Nabokov, Vladimir. "Robert Louis Stevenson: The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde." In Lectures on Literature, edited by Fredson Bowers, pp. 179-204. New York: Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich, 1988.

Analyzes the style and artistic intent of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, dismissing popular estimations of the novel as a mystery story while concentrating on its evocation of psychological terror.

Orel, Harold. "Robert Louis Stevenson: Many Problems, Some Successes." In The Victorian Short Story: Development and Triumph of a Literary Genre, pp. 115-37. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986.

Examines "Markheim," "Olalla," and "Thrawn Janet" as representing some of Stevenson's most successful horror stories.

Parsons, Coleman O. "Stevenson's Use of Witchcraft in 'Thrawn Janet.'" Studies in Philology 43, no. 3 (July 1946): 551-71.

Appraises Stevenson's familiarity with and invention of witchcraft lore as illustrated in his story "Thrawn Janet."

Penzoldt, Peter. "The Ghost Story with a Moral—Dickens and Stevenson." In The Supernatural in Fiction, pp. 92-117. New York: Humanities Press, 1965.

Asserts that Stevenson and Charles Dickens were the only short story writers to create horror tales with moral messages.

Punter, David. "Gothic and Decadence." In The Literature of Terror: A History of Gothic Fictions from 1765 to the Present Day, pp. 239-67. London: Longmans, 1980.

Considers The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde "one of the most potent of modern literary myths" to arise from the "decadent Gothic" literature of the 1890s.

Saposnik, Irving S. Robert Louis Stevenson. Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1974, 164 p.

Critical introduction to Stevenson that includes thematic and structural analysis of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and the author's short fiction.

Swinnerton, Frank. R. L. Stevenson: A Critical Study. New York: Mitchell Kennerly, 1915, 215 p.

One of the most important and frequently discussed works on Stevenson in the twentieth century. As the first major attack on Stevenson, it has had a significant impact on his reputation, and from the time of its publication, fewer critics have defined Stevenson as a major writer. Swinnerton avoided discussing Stevenson's personality and attempted to evaluate his work using objective critical methods.

Tymms, Ralph. "The Double in Post-Romantic Literature." In Doubles in Literary Psychology, pp. 72-118. Cambridge: Bowes & Bowes, 1949.

Elucidates the use of the doppelgänger, or double, in The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

Veeder, William, and Gordon Hirsch, eds. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde after One Hundred Years. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1988, 312 p.

Collection of essays with varying approaches to The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde that offer analyses of the novella within biographical, cultural, and historical frameworks. Many of the essays examine the work within the Gothic literary tradition, comparing it to other Gothic works, including Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.


Additional coverage of Stevenson's life and career is contained in the following sources published by Thomson Gale: Authors and Artists for Young Adults, Vol. 24; Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction: Biography & Resources, Vol. 3; Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults, Vols. 1, 2, 4, 13; British Writers, Vol. 5; British Writers: The Classics, Vol. 1; British Writers Retrospective Supplement, Vol. 1; Children's Literature Review, Vols. 10, 11; Concise Dictionary of British Literary Biography, 1890–1914; Dictionary of Literary Biography, Vols. 18, 57, 141, 156, 174; Dictionary of Literary Biography Documentary Series, Vol. 13; DISCovering Authors; DISCovering Authors: British; DISCovering Authors: Canadian; DISCovering Authors Modules: Most-studied Authors and Novelists; DISCovering Authors 3.0; Junior DISCovering Authors; Literature and Its Times, Vols. 1, 3; Literature Resource Center; Major Authors and Illustrators for Children and Young Adults, Eds. 1, 2; Nineteenth-Century Literature Criticism, Vols. 5, 14, 63; Novels for Students, Vols. 11, 20; Reference Guide to English Literature, Ed. 2; Reference Guide to Short Fiction, Ed. 2; St. James Guide to Horror, Ghost & Gothic Writers; St. James Guide to Young Adult Writers; Short Story Criticism, Vols. 11, 51; Something about the Author, Vol. 100; Supernatural Fiction Writers; Twayne's English Authors; World Literature and Its Times, Vol. 4; World Literature Criticism; Writers for Children; Writers for Young Adults; and Yesterday's Authors of Books for Children, Vol. 2.

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Stevenson, Robert Louis (1850 - 1894)

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