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Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde (Signet Classics)

Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde - Robert Louis Stevenson, Dan Chaon, Vladimir Nabokov Robert Louis Steveson takes the dichotomy of man literally.. The premise is that good Dr Henry Jekyll conceives that each man is composed of two fully-formed men, battling ying-yang style for control of a single body. He concocts a chemical which he hopes will allow his good half to emerge, but (surprise) it is actually evil Mr Hyde who shows up. I would love to hear how Jekyll decided that his evil half should be named "Mr. Edward Hyde", but alas no mention of this is made! The real problem is that Mr Hyde is too much fun a habit for Jekyll to kick. Hyde enjoys debauchery in London that Jekyll would be much too inhibited to start, but which he secretly relishes once it gets underway. Like a well-exercised muscle, Hyde becomes more powerful the longer he is in control of Jekyll's body, and ultimately he becomes strong enough to suppress Jekyll completely. There is so much going on here. The whole tale works very well as an alegory for drug addiction, although I don't think that was Steveson's intention. It is great food for thought about the nature of man, the nature of identity/self, and the nature of the soul. Why am I only giving this three stars? I guess I felt Stevenson could have done more with it. The premise is so promising. It would have been nice to see Dr Jekyll regain control and defeat Hyde. The other stories in this volume are okay, but not up to the standard of Jekyll and Hyde. The "Suicide Club" stories remind me of A.C. Doyle's "Sherlock Holmes" ... short mysteries solved by a too-perfect-to-be-believed hero.