“It was for one minute that I saw him, but the hair stood upon my head like quills. Sir, if that was my master, why had he a mask upon his face?”
STEVENSON, Robert Louis (author). The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. London: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1886.
8vo., Half navy blue morocco over marbled boards, spine with 5 raised bands, panelled and lettered direct in gilt with gilt flower design in compartments;, contrasting red leather label; marbled edges and endpapers; pp. [x], 141, [iii]; boards a little rubbed and slightly bumped to corners and edges, upper edge slightly darkened; internally remarkably fresh throughout with just some very light toning to margins and the odd spot; very small portion of lower RH corner of half title missing, not affecting text; scarce thus.
First UK edition, published on the 9th January, 1886, 4 days after Charles Scribner's Sons' US edition.
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde is, along with Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and Bram Stoker's Dracula, one the best known horror stories in the English language. Although it missed the Christmas market, with publication delayed until the January of 1886, it was an immediate bestseller, fulfilling Stevenson's intentions of making him a lot of money. It has been in print ever since. It is a retelling of the classic Gothic story of 'the double': a second personality inhabiting the true self, conveyed with all the oppressive atmosphere of a grimy industrial London, as the author gradually discloses the true identity of the "damned juggernaut", Mr. Hyde, who comes and goes through the rear entrance of the home of the respectable Dr. Jekyll. The phrase 'Jekyll and Hyde' has become a metaphor for a split personality just as, in the 1880s, the psychological phenomenon it explored was used to explain a new sort of primeval savagery seen in the urban murders by Jack the Ripper.