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"The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" by Robert Louis Stevenson

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and Other Stories (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 I thought I would add a "Jekyll and Hyde" thread,-also great reading if you're reading "Treasure Island." Stevenson likes to write about the "dark side" and is great for Halloween!

 

Chad

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Jack the Ripper

The Jack the Ripper serial killings of London took place in 1888, but "Jekyll and Hyde" was first published in 1886. Interestingly, some of the Ripper's victims were found with missing body parts and although the novella was published prior to the Ripper murders, you cannot help but to speculate over some connection between Mr. Hyde and The Ripper- maybe Mr. Hyde represents some of the violence which sometimes erupts in major metropolitan areas.

 

In general, at least in really horrific serial killings, we often seek the reasons why they occur. Some reasons are found in pyschology (i..e. pyschological profiling). I think Stevenson offers an alternative viewpoint- one which incorporates a balance between the "civilized world" and Nature. That is, ff we view civilization as something with walls, whether real or pyschological, then the wall is the balance between civilization and Nature (i.e. the Trojan wall or the courtyards of London). And horrific murders may merely be Nature breaking through the walls formed, disrupting the balance. Moreover, was this balance in part achieved with alcoholic beverages, like rum or wine. Remember that early Americans had a built-in tolerance for alcohol while many Native Americans still battle with addictions. And 19th century London perhaps was not so bloody as the American frontier.

 

 

Chad 

 

 

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Re: Jack the Ripper

[ Edited ]

If you do a search of "Jack the Ripper, fiction" on the B&N web site you'll find some interesting (some highly reader rated) choices including Dust and ShadowFrom Hell and From Hell-The Final Days Of Jack The Ripper. 

 

It's funny, but I recently finished reading Anno Dracula. 

Cover Image

 

It merges the legend of Jack the Ripper with alternative history and the Dracula myth. Originally published in 1993, this book was reissued this year. I absolutely loved it! Here's my reader review:

  

Unique and Unforgettable

Your Customer Rating:      (Five Stars)       See Detailed Ratings

This utterly entertaining book is not just another clever mash-up. It does delight by placing literary and historical figures in the framework of a horror-inspired plot, but it goes beyond that to deliver a sweeping story of alternative history. The mix of surreal imagery and accurate historical settings is simply mind-blowing at times. The plot is multi-faceted. At first, the reader is ensnared by a fascinating crime thriller and a horrific but atmospheric version of London. By mid-book a contemplative romance and wry political satire enter the mix. During the last third of the book, an ingenious conspiracy is slowly revealed. It all culminates in a heart-thumping climax that leaves the reader smiling and cheering for more.

Although supporting characters from history and period literature amuse the reader throughout the narrative, this story goes beyond mere entertainment. Simply stated, it's a brilliant and maniacal masterpiece. I'm grateful that this book was reissued. Otherwise, I would have probably missed a truly unique and unforgettable read.

This book is based upon the premise that Van Helsing failed to destroy Dracula a/k/a Vlad Tepes who went onto marry Queen Victoria and impose a chaotic police state on Victorian England harkening back to the Middle Ages. London is torn between those who have chosen to remain warm (humans) and vampires which range from Dracula's bloodthirsty Carpathian Guard to elders with mysterious vampiric powers to new-born from every strata of society. Unfortunately, most of the new-born carry Dracula's grave tainted bloodline causing twisted mutations and self-destructive, blood born behavior. 

At first the prose seems antiquated and dense, but that's only because the story starts with a letter authored by Dracula and the insane ravings of an obsessive killer. That killer, initially dubbed Silver Knife, eventually becomes known as Jack the Ripper. His gruesome evisceration of vampire streetwalkers in Whitechapel is sensationalized by the press and destabilizes the tenuous status quo between vampires and humans. A sympathetic and newly engaged Charles Beauregard, an undercover human agent for the mysterious Diogenes Club cabal, is tasked with stopping the murders. Meanwhile, an intriguing vampire elder named Geneviève Dieudonné is asked by vampire elements at Scotland Yard to become involved. Charles and Geneviève investigate the murders separately, but eventually meet and collaborate.

In addition to the experiences of Charles and Geneviève, the narrative focuses upon the fascinating perspective of Jack the Ripper. Other notable characters include Beuregaurd's naive fiance, the relatively newly turned Lord Godalming a/k/a Arthur Holmwood, (borrowed from Stoker's "Dracula"), and the manipulative vampiric British Prime Minster who is named Lord Ruthven after Polidori's 'The Vampyre'. A wide cast of supporting characters, some taken from period literature and history, contribute to the narrative, and a few historic figures make amusing cameo appearances. Dracula and Queen Victoria aren't introduced until the climactic conclusion, but both make indelible impressions.
I highly recommend this book to all vampire genre lovers and anyone who enjoys reading an intriguing and surreal story set within a meticulously envisioned Victorian era. IMO, any general fiction reader who appreciates a deeply layered story will enjoy this book.
P.S. See bookseller pick below:

 

Jack the Ripper Lives or Does He?

 

Status: Bookseller Picks

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Re: Jack the Ripper: happy halloween notes

[ Edited ]

Interesting. The "Whitechapel" district is where the "Ripper murders" took place and also where
"undead" prostitutes, made famous by Bram Stoker, supposedly lurked. It was only a matter of time before someone put two-and-two together. :smileyvery-happy: But I think the negative effects of city "night-life" were just starting to be felt in the mid- to late 1800's in London and other cities across the world, forming the bases of beliefs about "the ripper" or vampires- some fact and some fiction would be my guess....

 

Chad  

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Re: Jack the Ripper: happy halloween notes

[ Edited ]

Bram Stoker's Dracula (Barnes & Noble Classics Series) had nothing to do with Whitechapel and/or Jack the Ripper. Stoker's book was set at Dracula Castle in the Carpathian Mountains, the insane asylum the nearby abbey and was all about Victorian morals and the amoral/immoral vampire monster.

 

In a brilliant alternative history novel entitled Anno Dracula , author Kim Newman married the Dracula myth with the Whitechapel murders and Jack the Ripper. I enjoyed reading Newman's 'Anno Dracula' a lot more than Stoker's original 'Dracula'. (I got a hardback version of the original book from an authorized used book dealer.)

 

Here are some of the outstanding recommendations for Anno Dracula which can be seen on the Amazon web site:

 

Amazon.com Review

As Nina Auerbach writes in the New York Times, " Stephen King assumes we hate vampires; Anne Rice makes it safe to love them, because they hate themselves. Kim Newman suspects that most of us live with them . . . . Anno Dracula is the definitive account of that post-modern species, the self-obsessed undead." In this first of what looks to be an excellent series, Victorian England has vampires at every level of society, especially the higher ones, and they engage in incessant intrigue, power games, and casual oppression of the weak--activities, as we know, that are all too human. Numerous characters from literature and from history appear in both major and cameo roles. Spectacular fight scenes, stormy politics, and a serial vampire killer keep the action lively. A scholarly bibliography is included. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
 

From Publishers Weekly

Queen Victoria consorts with Count Dracula in this ingenious historical romp peopled by historic characters. Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
 

From Kirkus Reviews

Newman goes over the top in every novel (Night Mayor, Bad Dreams, Jago), each featuring a monstrous overlord of horror unlikely to be dethroned--but this time he leaps to new heights, drawing the Dracula novel that sets a benchmark for vampire fiction. Warning: the blood, well, you can't say it's overdone, for a vampire novel, but two qualities distinguish Newman's story: the immense physiological detail shoring up the reality of the undead, and the gathering sense of the author's enjoyment in what he does here--among other things, his sheer love of chockablock Victorian detail. The plot: Vlad Tepes, or Dracula, did not die as in Bram Stoker but rather survived and, political genius, rose to marry Queen Victoria in 1885 and become her consort. Dracula rules England, with Victoria doglike in a leash at his feet. What's more, it's now fashionable to be a vampire, especially among the nobility, while among the lower orders the change from ``warm'' to the immortal undead can be bought from any corner whore for the price of a shot of gin or draft of pig's blood at the pub. Jack the Ripper, however, hates undead whores and knows that destroying any vital organ can kill them. Who is Jack? None other that Stoker's Dr. John (Jack) Seward, who helped drive a stake into Lucy Westenra, Stoker's heroine. Jack's gone round the bend, living among a people who look upon vampirism as, well, pretty nice. The police assign Genevieve Dieuxdonne, a vampire detective, herself a half-century older than Dracula, to chase down Jack, assisted by Charles Beauregard, handsome henchman of Conan Doyle's The Diogenes Club, England's Star Chamber. Also on hand: Mycroft Holmes, Dr. Jekyll, and dozens of famed Victorians from literature and real life, all mingling in a fogbound milieu that rubs like cat fur on the reader's imagination. A bloody delight. -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
 

"Kim Newman's Anno Dracula is back in print, and we must celebrate. It was the first mash-up of literature, history and vampires, and now, in a world in which vampires are everywhere, it's still the best, and its bite is just as sharp. Compulsory reading, commentary, and mindgame: glorious." - Neil Gaiman


"Politics, horror, and romance are woven together in this brilliantly imagined and realized novel. Newman's prose is a delight, his attention to detail is spellbinding." - Time Out

“Stephen King assumes we hate vampires; Anne Rice makes it safe to love them, because they hate themselves. Kim Newman suspects that most of us live with them… Anno Dracula is the definitive account of that post-modern species, the self-obsessed undead.” - New York Times

Anno Dracula will leave you breathless... one of the most creative novels of the year.” - Seattle Times

“Powerful... compelling entertainment... a fiendishly clever banquet of dark treats.” - San Francisco Chronicle

'A ripping yarn, an adventure romp of the best blood, and a satisfying… read' - Washington Post Book World

"The most comprehensive, brilliant, dazzlingly audacious vampire novel to date. 'Ultimate' seems an apt description... Anno Dracula is at once playful, horrific, intelligent, and revelatory." - Locus 

"A marvelous marriage of political satire, melodramatic intrigue, gothic horror, and alternative history. Not to be missed." - The Independent 

"Anno Dracula is the smart, hip Year Zero of the vampire genre's ongoing revolution." - Paul McAuley

"Kim Newman brings Dracula back home in the granddaddy of all vampire adventures. Anno Dracula couldn't be more fun if Bram Stoker had scripted it for Hammer. It's a beautifully constructed Gothic epic that knocks almost every other vampire novel out for the count." - Christopher Fowler   

 "The most interesting take on the Dracula story... to date. Recommending this one to all those that love Dracula and historical fiction!" - RexRobotReviews

 
Product Description
"Kim Newman's Anno Dracula is back in print, and we must celebrate. It was the first mash-up of literature, history and vampires, and now, in a world in which vampires are everywhere, it's still the best, and its bite is just as sharp. Compulsory reading, commentary, and mindgame: glorious." - Neil Gaiman

"Politics, horror, and romance are woven together in this brilliantly imagined and realized novel. Newman's prose is a delight, his attention to detail is spellbinding." - Time Out

“Stephen King assumes we hate vampires; Anne Rice makes it safe to love them, because they hate themselves. Kim Newman suspects that most of us live with them… Anno Dracula is the definitive account of that post-modern species, the self-obsessed undead.” - New York Times

Anno Dracula will leave you breathless... one of the most creative novels of the year.” - Seattle Times

“Powerful... compelling entertainment... a fiendishly clever banquet of dark treats.” - San Francisco Chronicle

'A ripping yarn, an adventure romp of the best blood, and a satisfying… read' - Washington Post Book World

"The most comprehensive, brilliant, dazzlingly audacious vampire novel to date. 'Ultimate' seems an apt description... Anno Dracula is at once playful, horrific, intelligent, and revelatory." - Locus 

"A marvelous marriage of political satire, melodramatic intrigue, gothic horror, and alternative history. Not to be missed." - The Independent 

"Once you start reading this Victorian-era thriller, you will not be satiated until you reach the end." - Ain't It Cool

"Anno Dracula is the smart, hip Year Zero of the vampire genre's ongoing revolution." - Paul McAuley

"Kim Newman brings Dracula back home in the granddaddy of all vampire adventures. Anno Dracula couldn't be more fun if Bram Stoker had scripted it for Hammer. It's a beautifully constructed Gothic epic that knocks almost every other vampire novel out for the count." - Christopher Fowler   
 "The most interesting take on the Dracula story... to date. Recommending this one to all those that love Dracula and historical fiction!" - RexRobotReviews

 

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Re: Jack the Ripper: happy halloween notes

[ Edited ]

Bram Stoker's Dracula (Barnes & Noble Classics Series) had nothing to do with Whitechapel and/or Jack the Ripper. Stoker's book was set at Dracula Castle in the Carpathian Mountains, the insane asylum the nearby abbey and was all about Victorian morals and the amoral/immoral vampire monster.


 

Some of "Dracula" also took place in the red light district of London- so I don't agree that it has nothing to do with Whitechapel, but I agree with you on the other points, I think. Stoker also expanded Stevenson's "Jekyll and Hyde" theme of the light and the dark and how we attribute morals to them. That is, we usually associate "the dark" with evil, and "the light" with the good. In the end, they both are just natural phenomena. It was kind of a turn-of-the-century theme- definately interesting.

 

Chad

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Victorian morals

[ Edited ]

 

Now that you mention Viictorian morals- I read a lot of books from the 1800's, but I never mention Queen Victoria, who sat at the top of Britain and practically defined the entire era. But the problem I have whenever Victorian morals are mentioned is defining them and determining either why they occurred or where they came from. Some probably came from Queen Victoria herself, who was often associated with strict personal moral standards. That is, she became something of an icon. But would the same morals and values have developed during the same era without Queen Victoria?

 

Chad 

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Re: Victorian morals:addendum

[ Edited ]

Both "Jekyll and Hyde" and "Dracula" were written at the end of the Victorian era, but they both may shed some light on the "Victorian morals." In "Dracula", Stoker writes about Newtonian physics and suggests that Victorian morals were simply "an equal and opposite reaction" to the atrocities of industrialization usually found in the major cities, like London but not limited to London. And Stevenson suggests that the Victorian morals were, more or less, part of a balance that civilization had found with "amoral" behavior or the lack of civilization sometimes found in the 1800's- in the wild west, for example. And the two sides could coexist with alcohol and/or other drugs. 

 

Chad  

 

PS- Victorian morals include etiquette or rules of behavior and are not exclusive to the 1800's- the morals are in part rooted in religion and history- I think they were an attempt to revive the rules of chivalry, although Victorian etiquette could never be as ideal, or as strong as a "chivalric code." 

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Re: Victorian morals:addendum

I also saw Victorian morals as something aristocratic or "upper class", so they had some appeal to people for these reasons, aside from the appeal and the practical purpose of "right" living in an era with a decline in morals. And there were always those people who used Victorian rules of etiquette or Victorian values for their own advantage, and so, Victorian morals were fine to uphold only up until the time they became oppressive. 

 

But for all the of the above, it may have been Victorian morals for Queen Victoria only- she was the only person who could live by them and so became an icon. Always an interesting topic....

 

Chad 

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Re: Victorian morals and law

[ Edited ]

Law, and I'm thinking about laws regarding marraige (i.e. primogeniture, property, incest etc.), influenced Victorian morals, but there also is an intangible aspect of Victorian morals emanating from a world once ruled by monarchs and religion- again something from a chivalrous era- the Victorian era was not quite a chilvarous era. It may have been an era more "mannerly" than our own era. And maybe more stagnating than our own era. It was also an era of war and revolution.:smileywink:

 

Chad 

 

PS- The right of the "individual" was also part of Victorian morals. Actually in "Jekyll and Hyde" Utterson mentions that he "inclines to Cain's heresy." that is, I have the right to be an individual although I am my "brother's keeper." The conflict of the "individual vs. the state" was a very large conflict during the 1800's, if not the main conflict of 1800's. So, always great novels coming from the 1800's. And I guess I should have posted more on morals in this era, but a dsicussion over Victorian morals always seems so stagnating, if not just elusive- which is sometimes why I avoid them....:smileyvery-happy:

 

 

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Intangibles

"Law, and I'm thinking about laws regarding marraige (i.e. primogeniture, property, incest etc.), influenced Victorian morals, but there also is an intangible aspect of Victorian morals emanating from a world once ruled by monarchs and religion- again something from a chivalrous era...."


 

By intangible aspect of Victorian morals- I'm thinking of a senses of right and wrong emanating from  "refinement" or a more refined class, like an aristocracy. Refinement or "genteel" behavior is somethinig sold and something that you usually cannot buy (?). I should have mentioned Emily Bronte's "Wuthering Heights" which is usually the quintessential Victorian moral novel- tempers, suppression and exploding expression of emotions and so on....

 

Chad

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Bronte and Louis Stevenson

Both writers write about balances that civilization(s) find for their own survival. Emiliy Bronte writes about how that balance is often solid, like a wall- a line between competition and cooperation. While Louis-Stevenson writes about the hiow the balance is a line between light and dark- maybe the stability of civilzation is found in chemical balances of drugs and alcohol, illegal or otherwise?

 

So if we think about an economy, or economics, then (if we had read Bronte and Stevenson, that is), we might ask ourselves if economics is just a refinement of a balance, or balances, that civilizations found necessary to maintain for their own surviival- like a balance of Law and Science that Stevenson found in London?

 

Chad

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NAFTA, Bronte and Stevenson

just to add as an example:

 

Economics, through NAFTA, may be considered to have refined the borders between Mexico, the U.S. and Canada. The borders, of course, have been around for a long time and have "European" roots. The borders may have always been purely economic, but they are usually thought to be more than economic borders. In any case, NAFTA is a great example of economics refining balances found in our nation's borders, or just a great example of how economics sometimes refines borders, in general...it remains to be seen whether NAFTA resembles the elixir made by Dr. Jekyll....:smileyvery-happy: 

 

Chad

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The lithium ion

[ Edited ]

I should mention the lithium ion, discovered and isolated in the nineteenth century to cure a variety of ailments associated with the use of alcohol, but not necessarily was it an exclusive cure for diseases associated with alcohol use or abuse- it was also known to cure other ailments. The ion is often combined with salt and probably was used by Dr. Jekyll's to make his elixir. 

 

Lithium is still used today and something the world may increasingly rely on for balance and stability- to help the counter the effects of alcohol use, or even as an alternative energy source- batteries, nuclear energy and so forth all rely on lithium...

 

Chad

 

 

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Re: The lithium ion


chad wrote:

I should mention the lithium ion, discovered and isolated in the nineteenth century to cure a variety of ailments associated with the use of alcohol, but not necessarily was it an exclusive cure for diseases associated with alcohol use or abuse- it was also known to cure other ailments. The ion is often combined with salt and probably was used by Dr. Jekyll's to make his elixir. 

 

Lithium is still used today and something the world may increasingly rely on for balance and stability- to help the counter the effects of alcohol use, or even as an alternative energy source- batteries, nuclear energy and so forth all rely on lithium...

 

Chad

 

 



Lithium salts are more appropriately used to treat bipolar disorder.  Physicians first began treating gout with lithium (Li+ ions precipitate uric acid from sloution) then treating mania by the 1870s.  Many patent medicines from the turn of the century contained dissolved lithium salts - in the 1920s the original 7Up! was marketed as a hangover cure because it contained lithium citrate.  It is only very recently that researchers have started examining the treatment of alcoholism with lithium independent of those alcoholics also suffering mood disorders.

 

Elemental lithium cannot be absorbed by the body.

 

 

Melissa W.
I read and knit and dance. Compulsively feel yarn. Consume books. Darn tights. Drink too much caffiene. All that good stuff.
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Re: The lithium ion


Melissa_W wrote:

chad wrote:

I should mention the lithium ion, discovered and isolated in the nineteenth century to cure a variety of ailments associated with the use of alcohol, but not necessarily was it an exclusive cure for diseases associated with alcohol use or abuse- it was also known to cure other ailments. The ion is often combined with salt and probably was used by Dr. Jekyll's to make his elixir. 

 

Lithium is still used today and something the world may increasingly rely on for balance and stability- to help the counter the effects of alcohol use, or even as an alternative energy source- batteries, nuclear energy and so forth all rely on lithium...

 

Chad

 

 



Lithium salts are more appropriately used to treat bipolar disorder.  Physicians first began treating gout with lithium (Li+ ions precipitate uric acid from sloution) then treating mania by the 1870s.  Many patent medicines from the turn of the century contained dissolved lithium salts - in the 1920s the original 7Up! was marketed as a hangover cure because it contained lithium citrate.  It is only very recently that researchers have started examining the treatment of alcoholism with lithium independent of those alcoholics also suffering mood disorders.

 

Elemental lithium cannot be absorbed by the body.

 

 


 

Thanks for that Melissa!

 

In my opinion, Jekyll's elixir is representative of both alcohol and also any cure which contained the lithium ion- both alcohol and lithium can be said to treat various mood disorders. Alcohol is used quite often as a release from everday stress, and lithium, as you know, is a cure for mania and so forth. Moreover, do the two together provide a "balance" of some kind. So, if we use "Jekyll and Hyde" as an example (and hopefully they are the only example we have, but probably not): Dr. Jekyll has a couple of glasses of wine to relax him from his daily stress as a doctor, and then transforms into an uncontrollable animal, as alcohol sometimes transforms us, but he then takes a form of lithium to control that unleashed animal, unleashed by alcohol, and then once again becomes the responsible physician.

 

I was just surfing the web and I found googled questions like, "Can I take my lithium pill with alcohol?"  You mention that researchers "have just have started examining the treatment of alcoholism with lithium independent of those alcoholics also suffering mood disorders." But the use of alcohol in conjunction with lithium probably started sometime in the 1800's- my guess is prior to 1870, continuing to the present day.  Alcohol has been around a lot longer than lithium and Stevenson may have asked:  Did civilization, which developed along with alcoholic beverages (Utterson had acquired a taste for vintages), collectively reach a pinnacle around 1870? That is, everyone had  to go "cold turkey" at that point, but civilization found way to balance alcohol's side effects with the use other drugs like lithium. The prohibition of alcohol came a little later, but it is generally not viewed as a prohibition for everyone's health, much like the use of marijuanna- but that's a whole different ball game....

 

Chad