Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
by Robert Louis Stevenson
Brain Snacks: Tasty Tidbits of Knowledge
Robert Louis Stevenson wrote the bulk of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in less than a week. He wrote the first draft in three days and the last draft in another three days.
As always, Stevenson’s wife offered a good deal of commentary on the first draft. Scholars speculate as to whether her comments regarded inappropriate sexual content in the book, or involved suggestions to turn it into a stronger religious allegory.
Part of the novel’s "creation story," is that Stevenson burned the first draft in order to remove the temptation to continue using it. Given point number one, we’re thinking that was on day four?
When first published in 1886, the novel sold as a one shilling paperback in the United Kingdom and as a one dollar book in the United States. It was immensely popular for moral reasons, and for a time was often quoted in religious sermons.
Today, "Jekyll and Hyde" is a term used in reference to someone with a split personality.
Most productions of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde significantly alter the original plot, usually inserting a love interest or telling the story from another point of view. Mary Reilly, for instance, stars Julia Roberts as a maid in Dr. Jekyll’s house who falls in love with the doctor, played by John Malkovich. So be careful about "reading" this book by watching its Hollywood counterpart.