With “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” in #NaNoReMo update

“If he be Mr. Hyde,” he had thought, “I shall be Mr. Seek.”

And that dear Utterson you somewhat became. Innuendos here and there, terrible, dark, tempting, throughout each page which brushed against my fingers with the coldness of those later London evenings, so beautifully distributed with rich vocabulary and haunting imagery.

There is a great deal to be said about “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” and I will create a longer post with my thoughts on the whole work after I finish it, but to this stage, and I leave the mark somewhere before the chapter titled “The Last Night”.

Thus far not only have I enjoyed the traumatizing experience of a very sensible man chased by very real and agonizing doubts about his dear friend and an upcoming peril, but I’ve undoubtedly loved the carefully sewn bizarreness of this misshapen and unearthly personage that is Hyde, and the ungodly secret that unfolds by the words and the witness of a friend, and friendship is a mighty powerful thing. I’m excited as I read and I only suffer from the short length of the novella, deliberately slowing its finale, taking in each page in its fullest, dramatizing over it as much as possible and drawing out that unsettled feeling of uncertainty and unsure horror that seems to pervade the atmosphere, the very essence of each scene.  Even when Henry Jekyll is himself, it is a brief occurrence, rapidly pushed aside by a new attack of solitude and nightly weeping and I love that, because even with the few let-us-know paragraphs of Jekyll’s usual nature and connection to other parties, it’s still enough for me to get the idea in my head that whatever is happening to this man is brutal and disturbing in every possible way and it should seek solution, which I as the reader want as well. But Hyde is spectacular, for he is in pain whenever and he is in suffering. The characters not being able to pinpoint, if that’s the word, his exact facial expressions, or his figure in detail is remarkable, because it makes me think of something out of their world, out of my world that is there but shouldn’t be there and its contorting the basics of human conception of how things are to be. Hyde is rendering their perception and triggering their curiosity in parallel with their repulsion of his soul, not only his visage, but the core of him, oozing through his voice and his gestures. It is brilliant this battle of souls precisely, though it is quite egotistical of Jekyll to force upon his friends his death penalty or his life renewed, but hey what are friends for? It’s the oldest war between Dark and Light, but with a slight twist as it goes. It’s the early science of substances controlling the human emotions and drawing out unknown demons and manifesting their face upon that of their owner, colliding two personalities of the same roots and seeing whichever overpowers and to what extent its own decisions and cravings lead.

Robert Louis Stevenson wrote an incredible treat for the readers offering a different perspective and a different angle of storytelling. It feels amazing to read.

Richard Mansfield in the stage adaptation (opening in London in 1887, a year after the publication of the novella)

I’m also going to do a short post with some favorite quotes some time during the week, so watch for that. As always I’d be glad to hear from you and your thoughts on the novella if you’ve read it, and if not, I’ll persuade you otherwise. Also, how is your reading going?

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4 thoughts on “With “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” in #NaNoReMo update

  1. This sounds like it was a good choice Cindy – as you say an early rendition of substance abuse that causes a split personality. It shall be base on your post, another that I will book mark to read. ^_^

  2. That was one dense paragraph of reflection, Cindy! But meaty and a pleasure to read. I mostly dwelled on how Stevenson handled the twist, but the dynamism and spiritualism is strong in the novel. A very unusual piece of work.

    I’m still digging The Master and Margarita. It won me over a second time with Margarita’s broom ride.

    • I love exactly its dynamism and spiritualism! It’s been a long time since I’ve read something of the kind, that has such magnetism and power over my mind. It’s amazing. Yes, it’s an unusual novella, which on my list is a very huge plus.

      I think last year I voted for The Master and Margarita since I’m a huge fan of that novel, and I read it very quickly and loved the dark humour, loved the broom ride and basically enjoyed every page of it. Behemoth is a charmer.

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