Robert Louis Stevenson Mystery & Detective Fiction Analysis
Probably the best known of Robert Louis Stevenson’s mature works is The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. It has, in Western culture, somewhat the stature of a number of other supernatural tales with archetypal plots, such as Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley’s Frankenstein: Or, The Modern Prometheus (1818) and Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1897). Readers unfamiliar with the novel, or even Stevenson’s authorship of it, can still recount in fairly accurate detail the lineaments of the plot. The work’s tremendous popularity undoubtedly has much to do with the aspects of action, character, and setting that now characterize so many mystery and detective novels.
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
Mr. Hyde’s notorious crimes include trampling an innocent little girl in the street and leaving her to suffer unaided, bludgeoning to death an old man of considerable reputation, supposedly blackmailing the kindly benefactor Dr. Jekyll, and committing a variety of unnameable sins against propriety and morality, the likes of which were best left to the Victorian imagination. Stevenson’s Hyde is as dark a character as any who ever stalked the streets of London, and his outward appearance creates disgust wherever he goes. No one could fault The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde for a lack of incident. In describing action, Stevenson is evocative, not explicit. His writing is reminiscent of the...
(The entire section is 1448 words.)
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