London: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1886. Item #04267
First Edition of Jekyll and Hyde
Bound by Rivière & Son
STEVENSON, Robert Louis. Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. London: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1886.
First English edition.
Small octavo (7 x 4 5/8 inches; 179 x 117 mm.). , 141, [1, blank] pp.
Bound ca. 1925 by Rivière & Son (stamp-signed in black on verso of front free-endpaper). Full tan calf, covers decoratively bordered in gilt, spine with five raised bands, decoratively tooled in gilt in compartments. Olive green morocco spine label lettered in gilt, decorative gilt board-edges and turn-ins, marbled end-papers, top edge gilt. A near fine copy.
Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde is a novella by the Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894) first published in 1886. It is about a London lawyer named Gabriel John Utterson who investigates strange occurrences between his old friend, Dr. Henry Jekyll, and the evil Edward Hyde. The novella's impact is such that it has become a part of the language, with the very phrase "Jekyll and Hyde" coming to mean a person who is vastly different in moral character from one situation to the next.
"Until 1886 [Stevenson] had never earned much... by his pen. But in that year came two successes which greatly increased his reputation, and with it his power to earn. These were The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and Kidnapped. The former, founded partly on a dream, is a striking apologue of the double life of man. Published as a 'shilling shocker,' a form at that time in fashion, it became instantly popular; was quoted from a thousand pulpits; was translated into German, French, and Danish; and the names of its two chief characters have passed into the common stock of proverbial allusion" (DNB).
"Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde may be read for its style alone. Many critics have objected to its brevity... but Henry James called the book 'a masterpiece of concision'... If Dracula leaves one with the sensation of having been struck down by a massive, 400-page wall of horror, then Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is like the sudden, mortal jab of an ice pick" (Stephen King).
Due to the delay in placing the book in bookstores in England, its release was preceded by the first American edition by four days.
Beinecke 349. Prideaux 17.