This Norton Critical Edition of Stevenson's enduringly popular and chilling tale is based on the 1886 First British Edition, the only edition set directly from Stevenson's manuscript and for which he read proofs. The text has been rigorously annotated for student readers and is accompanied by a textual appendix."Backgrounds and Contexts" includes a wealth of materials on the tale's publication history as well as its relevance to Victorian culture. Twelve of Stevenson's letters from the years 1885-87 are excerpted, along with his essay "A Chapter on Dreams," in which he comments on the plot's origin. Ten contemporary responses--including those by Julia Wedgwood, Gerard Manley Hopkins, and Henry James--illustrate Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde's initial reception. Stevenson's 1885 tale "Markheim," a precursor to Jekyll and Hyde and a window onto the Victorian sensation market, is reprinted in its entirety in this Norton Critical Edition. Karl Miller, Jenni Calder, and Judith Halberstam discuss literary genres central to Jekyll and Hyde. Four scientific essays--including one by Stephen Jay Gould--elucidate Victorian conceptions of atavism, multiple-personality disorder, narcotics addiction, and sexual aberration. Judith R. Walkowitz and Walter Houghton consider the implications of Victorian moral conformity and political disunity for society at large.
This University of Nebraska Press edition is a small, exquisitely produced paperback. The book design, based on the original first edition of 1886, includes wide margins, decorative capitals on the title page and first page of each chapter, and a clean, readable font that is 19th-century in style. Joyce Carol Oates contributes a foreword in which she calls Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde a "mythopoetic figure" like Frankenstein, Dracula, and Alice in Wonderland, and compares Stevenson's creation to doubled selves in the works of Plato, Poe, Wilde, and Dickens.
This edition also features 12 full-page wood engravings by renowned illustrator Barry Moser. Moser is a skillful reader and interpreter as well as artist, and his afterword to the book, in which he explains the process by which he chose a self-portrait motif for the suite of engravings, is fascinating. For the image of Edward Hyde, he writes, "I went so far as to have my dentist fit me out with a carefully sculpted prosthetic of evil-looking teeth. But in the final moments I had to abandon the idea as being inappropriate. It was more important to stay in keeping with the text and, like Stevenson, not show Hyde's face." (Also recommended: the edition of Frankenstein illustrated by Barry Moser) --Fiona Webster