cover image The New Annotated Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

The New Annotated Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

Robert Louis Stevenson, edited by Leslie S. Klinger. Mysterious, $39.95 (288p) ISBN 978-1-61316-321-4

In this attractive volume, Edgar winner Klinger (The New Annotated Sherlock Holmes) employs his usual diligent research and thoughtful analysis to deepen appreciation of a genre classic. As Klinger notes in his foreword, Stevenson’s novella, “like Frankenstein before it, has been too often simplified, distorted, and refashioned into a warning about good defeated by evil.” In fact, as Klinger demonstrates, the story of the seemingly respectable doctor and his vicious, sadistic alter ego is much more complicated. Stevenson grew up in a society replete with hypocritical attitudes toward ethics, religion, and responsibilities toward the less fortunate, and this story reflects that ethos. Through Klinger’s summations of late-19th-century English political, social, and cultural history; literary detection concerning the rumored burning of Stevenson’s first version of the story; annotations noting subtle implications in Stevenson’s book; insightful comparisons of earlier drafts of the classic; and observations on how the work was adapted for stage and screen, Klinger makes reading, or rereading, this masterpiece an immersive experience. Richly illustrated with scenes from Victorian London, playbills, and film images, this will instantly become the definitive edition of this complex and influential piece of literature. Agent: Donald Maass, Donald Maass Literary. (Oct.)