Andrew Lang’s review of Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde
Andrew Lang was a writer and critic and a close friend of Robert Louis Stevenson.
This is Lang’s review of Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde which was written in 1886, the year the novel was first published. Lang discusses the absence of women (though Hyde’s victims include a girl and a prostitute); the moral allegory underpinning the novel – which Stevenson decided to develop when he rewrote the text after burning the first draft; the fact that the novel is primarily concerned with the views and reactions of professional men; and the various aspects of duality that exist in the novel.
Of particular interest is Lang’s observation that Stevenson’s characters are middle-aged professional men of various characters – fashionable, sober, diligent, and in Hyde’s case a model of leisurely dissipation. However degenerate and criminal Hyde is, he is also equipped with good taste and the means to indulge it; he is even, according to Stevenson, an art-collector.
Exploring the idea of duality, Lang describes ‘the double personality in every man’, noting that this duality device had been used widely by Edgar Allan Poe. Duality is proposed as the moral of the tale – indeed he states that the moral is the tale, and that they are as inseparable as Jekyll and Hyde.
‘Man is not truly one, but truly two’: duality in Robert Louis Stevenson’s Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde
- Article by:
- Greg Buzwell
- The Gothic, Fin de siècle
Curator Greg Buzwell considers duality in Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, exploring how the novel engages with contemporary debates about consciousness, homosexuality and criminal psychology.
- Article by:
- John Mullan
- The Gothic, The novel 1780-1832
Professor John Mullan examines the origins of the Gothic, explaining how the genre became one of the most popular of the late 18th and early 19th centuries, and the subsequent integration of Gothic elements into mainstream Victorian fiction.