For most people today, I think it’s fair to say, the story of Jekyll and Hyde is a rough outline of a tale, a fairly straightforward allegory of the potential dark side within us all.
Read Robert Louis Stevenson’s original novella, however, and you immediately realise there is so much to this masterpiece of 19th century fiction. There are numerous reasons the story has become embedded in popular culture, and countless interpretations of what the story really means. It has everything: dreams and reality, psychology and medicine, good and evil, degeneracy and criminality, sexuality and self-identity, blackmail, murder, addiction, religion. Have I forgotten anything?
Joining me this week to discuss the legacy of Stevenson’s Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde is Professor Anne Stiles of St Louis University, Missouri. We discuss the origins of the tale, Stevenson’s elusiveness about its interpretation, contemporary cases of dual personality…and lighthouse engineering (really).
Prof Anne Stiles is Associate Professor in the Department of English, and Director of the Medical Humanities Interdisciplinary Minor Program, at St Louis University, Missouri.
If, like me, you are fascinated by fiction and science and how they come together in all sorts of different ways, then you’ll want to read some of her publications – they are wonderful. She is the author of Popular Fiction and Brain Science in the Late Nineteenth Century (Cambridge UP, 2012) and the editor of Neurology and Literature, 1866-1920 (Palgrave, 2007). She also co-edited two volumes published by Elsevier in 2013 as part of their Progress in Brain Research series.
You can read her full profile here, or on Academia.edu here
Works & Authors Mentioned
Robert Louis Stevenson: Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde
Robert Louis Stevenson: Treasure Island
Richard Mansfield (actor): Jekyll and Hyde stage play (1887)
John Barrymore (actor): Jekyll and Hyde film (1920)
Contemporary dual personality cases of Felida X and Sergeant F. Multiple personality case of Louis Vivet
Music this week was by Music from Philip Coleman and Paddy Mulcahy
Paddy Mulcahy Music For Dusk (Nowhere To Be)
Paddy Mulcahy Revisit (Nowhere To Be)
Philip Coleman Bougeotte (Invisible Ink)
Philip Coleman Germinal (Invisible Ink)
Distorted Microphone Sound Effect from Javier Zumer at Freesound.org here
In the episode I mentioned this episode on MR James and Victorian Christmas ghost stories and this one on criminology
If you’re looking for more on popular culture monsters try this episode on zombies or this one on mummies.
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Got a favourite Jekyll and Hyde adaptation? Let me know in the comments below or check out the Words To That Effect Facebook Page or on Instagram too!
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Full transcripts are available here