The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
Robert Louis Stevenson
Around 150 pages
I quickly devoured the horror novels on the List, as there aren't that many to begin with. This is one of those stories that people are so familiar with they don't bother to read anymore. This is a shame, because it is actually quite an enjoyable novel.
After the evil-looking Mr. Hyde tramples a young girl, he gets Dr. Jekyll, a respectable, cultured man, to pay for the damages. Dr. Jekyll also alters his will so Mr. Hyde will be the sole beneficiary. Gabriel Utterson, Dr. Jekyll's lawyer, suspects that Mr. Hyde is blackmailing poor Dr. Jekyll and decides to get to the bottom of the issue.
Like I said, people don't really bother to read this story anymore, so there is a fundamental misunderstanding about its plot. I think most people believe that Mr. Hyde was the product of an experiment gone awry, like the Green Goblin or The Hulk. But Mr. Hyde was actually the desired outcome of the serum: he would allow Dr. Jekyll to indulge all his heavily repressed urges without suffering the pangs of a guilty conscience. Dr. Jekyll is completely aware of how he behaves as Hyde. For me, this makes the story much more complex and provides an interesting commentary on the Victorian culture of repression.
So read this novella and you too can feel superior.
The idea for this novella is said to come from a dream Stevenson had. And a ton of cocaine.
UP NEXT: She by H. Rider Haggard. More politically incorrect adventures!