"…MAN IS NOT TRULY ONE, BUT TRULY TWO": FIRST ENGLISH EDITION OF DR JEKYLL AND MR HYDE, HANDSOMELY BOUND
STEVENSON, Robert Louis. Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. London: Longmans, Green, 1886. Octavo, early 20th-century three-quarter crimson morocco, gilt-decorated spine, raised bands, marbled boards and endpapers, top edge gilt. Original front wrapper bound in. $5500.
Scarce first English edition of Stevenson's "Faustian moral fable," handsomely bound with scarce original front wrapper bound in at front.
"If [Bram Stoker's] 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). Leaping to life out of a "fine bogey dream" from which the author's wife abruptly awakened him, Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde proved "immediately and lastingly Stevenson's most famous story" (Baugh et al., 1499). "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). "It is a Faustian moral fable which takes the form of a tale of mystery and horror… [It] is the prototype of all stories of multiple personality, transformation and possession… The psychological power of the writing, including Jekyll's agonies, is patent" (Clute & Nicholls, 1165). "When we thrill to the shock and horror of the story, I think it is because we all, at least to some degree, have been torn by [Jekyll's] internal conflict. When we recoil in terror from the selfish savagery of Mr. Hyde, I think it is because we fear our own secret selves" (Jack Williamson). Bound with scarce original front wrapper, without leaf of advertisements at the rear; text complete. The New York edition preceded the London by only four days. Beinecke 349. Gerstley 30A. Prideaux 17. An English Library, 49. Fantasy and Horror 1-146. Horror 100 Best, 60-62. Early owner ink signature to title page.
Text clean, scarce original front wrapper mildly soiled, front joint rubbed but sound. A handsome, near-fine copy.