Hammerton The scene at the window is clearly the central event of Ch. There fol- lowed a fierce argument and Stevenson left the room. He had burned the entire first draft. Jekyll was portrayed as a clearly evil villain who uses the transformation as a mask for the pursuit of his vices Balfour II, Writing went slowly and was spread over six weeks. A few more signifi- cant changes were made on the proofs and the printed text was finally pub- lished in January There is no doubt that the story of the dream origin creates a guide to interpretation, an epitextual frame that encourages a view of the text as a product of the unconscious or the imagination.
The dream story is associated with the story of furious composition. As his stepson, Lloyd Osbourne says, The writing of it was an outstanding feat, from whatever aspect it may be regarded. Sixty-four thousand words in six days; more than ten thousand words a day.
To those who know little of such things I may explain that a thousand words a day is a fair average for any writer of fiction […] It is — and has been — a sort of standard of literary accomplishment. Stevenson multiplied it by ten; and on top of that copied out the whole of it in an- other two days, and had it in the post on the third! This story, however, seems to be a romantic invention: Stevenson wrote two drafts a total of about fifty thousand words over six weeks, not six days. Others have wrongly deduced haste from aspects of the style.
Maixner Utterson be- comes Gabriel John Utterson ; and at the beginning of Ch.
The debate was summed up already by the anonymous Times reviewer in January qu. He is energy coiled in upon itself, energy turned to hate. However, though Stevenson may be seen as frustrated by the difficul- ties of expressing meaning, he may also be seen as experimenting with the freedom from having to provide a simple and therefore false mean- ing.
Meanings and symbols are used like colours — Stevenson, like Im- pressionist and Modernist painters, is interested in technique and in form, convinced of the polyvalence of perception and understanding: sounds, sound sequences, syntax, genre references, suggested symbolism and in- 2 terpretation all forming part of his palette.
Just as the brushstrokes of the Impressionists in the same period do not 1 White 5. Intuitions of meaninglessness or of the inadequacy of language are not, however, confined to the modem age and are, I would have thought, universal. We need only think of the sceptical tradition of the Greek Sophists and of the Buddhist teacher Nagarjuna.
The idea that Stevenson was more interested in form than meaning was already felt by his con- temporaries. Any final interpretation is in the mind of the beholder, but it is not a stable impression, since the tech- nique used especially in the last chapter conveys the idea of instability, movement, changing impressions. One explanation for this could be the elusive, dreamlike nature of the text.
This can be seen as congruent with his opinion expressed in an earlier essay: in the modern fable, he says, the moral tends to become more indeterminate and large. It ceases to be possible to append it, in a tag, to the bottom of the piece, as one might write the name below a caricature; and the fable begins to rank with other forms of creative literature, as something too ambitious, in spite of its miniature dimensions, to be resumed in any succinct formula without the loss of all that is deepest and most suggestive in it.
The difficulty lies in discerning the moral behind the story. Escher, Concave and Convex fall as a result of a search for purity or for impurity; etc. Meanings here become more like forms, i. With all necessary reservations, therefore, we can see the text creating a patterning of some of the following themes. Forbidden knowledge. The Cosmic transgressor is inevitably punished or overpowered by the forces he has released: expelled from the Garden of Eden, chained to a rock on Mount Caucasus, or dragged down to Hell.
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The social aspects of the story have sometimes been taken as a dominant characteristic: Elwin qu. The social superiority of these middle-class characters is shown to have no moral basis. The text can be seen as an investigation of aspects of human psychology.
Geduld 8. There is an equally long tradition of possession by a devil as an explanation of an apparent change in personality.
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In the nineteenth century the model of the non-unitary personality is taken up by Schubert and Mesmer at the beginning of the century, and Charcot and Freud at the end, manifestations of multiple personality being one of the 1 most discussed aspects of psychiatry around Asendorf The same strains may be produced by attempts to hide other aspects of being that are allied to personality: in particular at- tempts to deny the body or mortality.
All the aspects of his being and personality that Jekyll fears and dislikes are pro- jected onto Hyde considered as another person to be re- jected and condemned Gold This article has yet to be identified. The text can also be seen as an investigation of one person living two lives that are somehow unconnected in the mind. Moral rules, temptation and sin. The interest in the human personality could also be seen in terms of conventional morality: the soul rather than the personality being seen as a field of conflict between virtuous and sinful tendencies.
These feelings are obviously strengthened by language, which categorizes and thus excludes, and the area of strangeness can include anything: other individuals, oneself seen as another person, members of the opposite sex, other nationalities and social groups, individuals at a different stage of maturity, animals, physical objects, forces and flows — even abstract con- cepts like evil and death. With self-awareness, however, comes loss of self-absorption and spontaneity, as well as awareness of mortality through observing yourself as another person, you realize that like them you are mortal.
Hence the typical flight from the Double, which of course like a shadow follows after.
Jekyll tries twice to abandon the transforma- tions into Hyde, but fails on both occasions. It is this complexity and its production that seems to interest Stevenson most. It is the fascinating structure in itself, creator of ambiguity, that attracts the admiration of the reader rather than any of the elusive meanings that may be placed on it. Some of these are dealt with here in different sections e. It can be seen in the use of obscure words and phrases, in the frequent reference to obscure and uncertain phenomena, in the mix- ture of positive and negative characteristics in descriptions, and in the frustration of reader expectations of consistency of presentation.
One of the objects of the annotations in the present edition is to show the unusual way in which words are used: Stevenson frequently employs archaic, obsolete and dialect words, or ambiguously uses words with dif- fering archaic and modern meanings, or with conflicting official and evolv- ing colloquial meanings. Since in most cases the sentence-meaning is clear, Stevenson may be seen as demonstrating the lack of fixed meaning of language items independent of context. This lack of fixed meaning also applies to the ambiguous characters and the strange situations in which they find themselves.
Asendorf Related to this uncertain use of words and phrases is the uncertain lit- eral or symbolic value of narrative elements. In a way similar to contem- porary Symbolist and Decadent writers and later writers such as Conrad, a symbolic interpretation is frequently encouraged but is never con- firmed. Hyde cannot be described, Lan- yon cannot bring himself to write down what Jekyll confesses to him after the transformation, Enfield and Utterson, and then Poole and Utterson, stare at each other in wordless horror.
Indeterminacy is also created by a clear and easily-interpreted use of language that refers to indefinite entities, quantities, qualities, degrees of reality etc. On a larger scale, words of clear meaning may be arranged in ways that appear to be mutually contradictory, so creating a sequence that is diffi- cult to interpret.
Stevenson typically presents his characters as possess- ing opposed positive and negative elements which the reader will try in vain to reduce to a coherent synthesis e.
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We may see this indeterminate meaning and this mixture of positive and negative characteristics as normal — though the socially dominant class uses its power to affirm that it does not apply to them in a socio- logical or political reading of the text. We may see it as normal of indi- viduals, though some may try to deny or repress it in a moral or psycho- analytic reading of the text. Jekyll tries to define terms clearly and give order to his personality by creating two identities and two doors and even two separate houses for them: yet both remain irredeemably mixed.
THE THIRTY-NINE STEPS (Annotated)
In an interpretation that places more emphasis on the relation of writer and reader and on the process of reading, we may see the mixture dis- cussed above as part of the dynamic patterning of the expected and the unexpected. Stevenson typically suggests oppositions and antitheses and then surprises the reader by not realizing them fully. The windows above the sordid back door are always clean. In sordid Soho Edward Hyde, a brutal murderer, has his 1 tastefully furnished flat. At the be- ginning of the story, the street is connected with the frightening and the strange with Hyde in particular , the interior with safety and familiar nor- mality.
When Utterson goes to the Soho flat, Hyde begins to be associated with the interior, and Jekyll, seen for a second time close to the fireside , has now lost all his previous confidence. The pleasure may be heightened by an element of sur- prise, as, very grossly, in the common figure of the antithesis, or, with much greater subtlety, where an antithesis is first suggested and then deftly evaded.
And in this narrative that he wrote a few months later, an antithesis of the two main characters is first suggested and then, I would argue, deftly evaded.
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The description of a single place or character almost always mixes posi- tive and negative characteristics in a way that is difficult for the reader to harmonize. The characters in the narrative are sometimes presented as relaxed and certain of themselves, but more often as uneasy, uncertain of relationships with themselves and their surroundings.
Despite the taking of wine together and the con- vivial dinners, the characters end by having no fixed idea of themselves and their relations with others: they share the sense of indeterminacy and lack of fixed meaning that we see on other levels of the text. In counterpoint to this high degree of organisation we find pervasive ir- 2 regularities. We may take the multiple reflections that Utterson and Poole see in the mirror as a sign for the whole text: the story of an apparently simple opposition Jekyll:Hyde soon becomes, by pairings, oppositions and repetitions on various levels, a highly complicated structure which produces an aesthetic effect of wonder.
This indeterminacy can be seen in the use of the per- sonal pronouns in the last chapter. It is often difficult to decide who exactly is being referred to and the reference may change within the same sentence e. This story of transformations is structured as a series of transformations in narrator, genre and point-of-view.