The Times review of Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde


This review of Robert Louis Stevenson's Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde appeared soon after the publication of the book in 1886. The anonymous author praises the novel, noting the style of the language, the structure of the narrative, calling it a ‘finished study in the art of fantastical literature’, and recommending the reader to read it twice, once for the narrative and a second time to see how the writer has ‘never for a moment […] lost his grasp of the grand ground-facts of a wonderful and supernatural problem.’ 

The reviewer proposes the story is either ‘a flash of intuitive psychological research’ or ‘the product of the most elaborate forethought’. Critics have suggested that, as well as being inspired by a series of dream-sequences, the story was influenced by the dualities around Stevenson (both fictional and real), ranging from classic Gothic motifs to the story of Deacon Brodie and his own student, bohemian life in Edinburgh.

The novel is compared to Poe‘s stories The Fall of the House of Usher, The Premature Burial, and A Descent into the Maelstrom –  and Stevenson is judged to have ‘gone far deeper’; and to Frederick Fargus’s Called Back, a popular novel from 1883, which is judged ‘more commonplace’.  

Full title:
Review of Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde
25 January 1886, London
Newspaper / Ephemera / Illustration / Image
The Times
© British Library Board
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British Library
1801-2009 LON LD1 NPL

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