“…MAN IS NOT TRULY ONE, BUT TRULY TWO”: FIRST ENGLISH EDITION OF DR JEKYLL AND MR HYDE, HANDSOMELY BOUND AND PRESERVING THE ORIGINAL WRAPPERS
STEVENSON, Robert Louis. Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. London: Longman’s, Green, 1886. Octavo, mid-20th century three-quarter red morocco gilt, marbled boards and endpapers, top edge gilt.
Scarce first English edition, first issue, of Stevenson’s “Faustian moral fable,” handsomely bound, with original printed paper wrappers bound in.
“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). “The date on the front cover was originally 1885, but the last figure was altered by pen into 6 [as with the present copy]. It had been intended to publish the book in December 1885, ‘but when it was ready the bookstalls were already full of Christmas numbers… and the trade would not look at it’ (Mr. Charles Longman in Balfour’s Life, ii, 14). The publication was therefore postponed till January 1886” (Prideaux 17). 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. Pencil bibliographic notation.
Mild foxing to front wrapper and half title, a few lighter instances elsewhere. Joints expertly reinforced. An extremely good copy, handsomely bound.