"This story of a double-life in which the protagonist by day worked as a respectable doctor and by night roamed the back alleys of old-town London, was first published as a 'shilling shocker' in 1886 and became an instant classic. In the first six months of publication 40,000 copies were sold, and it remains one of the best tales ever written about the divided self." "The story opens with Mr Utterson the lawyer learning of an inexplicable attack on a young girl by a certain Mr Hyde, who he knows to be a protege of his old friend Henry Jekyll. Deciding to discover more about the matter, he questions those who might know something and finally manages to speak to Hyde himself. Though it sounds like the beginning of a detective story, the reader is already aware that things are deeper than they might appear: those who meet Hyde feel an irrational hatred and are unable to describe him in any detail. And the language of the text itself seems to be hiding something: vague, ambiguous, at times opaque and full of repetitions. Something is going on here, but we're not sure what it is. In the end, after Hyde has committed a murder, a distressed Jekyll locks himself in his study; but when Utterson breaks down the door, he finds not Jekyll but the dead body of Hyde. He also discovers a document which, along with another already acquired from the last two chapters, explains many things - but not all." This new edition contains a substantial introduction, with the story of composition (amid difficulties), first publication and early reception, followed by a survey of the main critical interpretations of this much-discussed work, a brief study of its language, and an overview of the most important derivative works: stage plays, films, comic books, graphic novels, and retellings of various kinds.
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