This essay refutes recent scholarship on the relationship between Robert Louis Stevenson’s 1886 novella Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and multiple personality disorder discourse, instead positioning the novella in an alternate historical scientific context—that of addiction to deviant desire. Recontextualizing the story in this way, this essay argues, helps us to understand the story as many early reviewers did: as a highly philosophical critique of materialism, as a rebuttal rather than an advancement of the “new physiological view” that the self might be fundamentally nonunitary, and as a rejoinder to the related issue of the soul’s possible nonexistence. In addition to tracing Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde’s relationship to canonical works like Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray (1890) within this new context, the essay also reclaims a novella by H. G. Wells, “The Story of the Late Mr. Elvesham” (1896), which has received virtually no scholarly attention.
"“The Stain of Breath Upon a Mirror”: The Unitary Self in Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,"
Criticism: Vol. 62:
1, Article 4.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.wayne.edu/criticism/vol62/iss1/4