Reviews, articles, rants & ramblings on the darker side of the media fringe

Archive for November 13, 2011

Robert Louis Stephenson

Robert Louis Balfour Stevenson (13 November 1850 – 3 December 1894) was a Scottish novelist, poet, essayist and travel writer. His best-known books include ‘Treasure Island’ and ‘Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde’. A literary celebrity during his lifetime, Stevenson now ranks among the 26 most translated authors in the world. Suffering from ill health through most of his adult life, Stevenson travelled widely. On one of his many trips through the South Sea Islands he began to compile a story about a one-legged pirate…

Treasure Island is an adventure novel, a tale of “pirates and buried gold”. First published as a book on May 23, 1883. Traditionally considered a coming-of-age story, Treasure Island is an adventure tale known for its atmosphere, characters and action, and also as a wry commentary on the ambiguity of morality — as seen in Long John Silver — unusual for children’s literature, then and now. It is one of the most frequently dramatized of all novels. The influence of Treasure Island on popular perceptions of pirates is enormous, including treasure maps marked with an “X”, schooners, the Black Spot, tropical islands, and one-legged seamen carrying parrots on their shoulders.

Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde is the original title of Stevenson’s novella that was first published in 1886. The work is commonly known today as The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde or simply Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. It is about a London lawyer named Gabriel John Utterson who investigates strange occurrences between his old friend, Dr Henry Jekyll, and the misanthropic Edward Hyde.

The work is commonly associated with the rare mental condition often spuriously called “split personality”, wherein within the same person there are at least two distinct personalities. In this case, the two personalities in Dr Jekyll are apparently good and evil, with completely opposite levels of morality. The novella’s impact is such that it has become a part of the language, with the phrase “Jekyll and Hyde” coming to mean a person who is vastly different in moral character from one situation to the next.

This story represents a concept in Victorian culture, that of the inner conflict of humanity’s sense of good and evil. In particular the novella has been interpreted as an examination of the duality of human nature (that good and evil exists in all), and that the failure to accept this tension (to accept the evil or shadow side) results in the evil being projected onto others. Paradoxically in this argument, evil is actually committed in an effort to extinguish the perceived evil that has been projected onto the innocent victims.

Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde was an immediate success and is one of Stevenson’s best-selling works. Stage adaptations began in London within a year of its publication and it has gone on to inspire scores of major film and stage performances. There are over 123 film versions alone, not including stage and radio versions. However, there have been no major adaptations to date that remain faithful to Stevenson’s original. Most omit the figure of Utterson, telling the story from Jekyll’s and Hyde’s viewpoint (as well as using the same actor for both roles)—thus eliminating entirely the mystery aspect of the true identity of Hyde, which was the story’s twist ending and not the basic premise that it is today. In addition, almost all adaptations introduce a romantic element which does not exist in the original story.

House of Night – Animated Trailer

New from Dark Horse Comics – P.C. Cast’s House of Night trailer. SYNOPSIS: Until recently, Zoey Redbird was an average high-school student worrying about grades, boys, and breakouts. But priorities have a way of changing when you are marked as a vampyre, enroll in the vampyre academy House of Night, and have to figure out a whole new social hierarchy, affinities for elemental magic, and physiological changes that make you crave blood.