Robert Louis Stevenson



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Robert Louis Stevenson
He was born at Edinburgh in 1850 in a prosperous and respectable Presbyterian family. He adopted a Bohemian life style. This led to clashes with his friends. He soon began to suffer respiratory illness and he travelled to the south of France. It was in France that Stevenson met Fanny Osbourne, and fell in love with her. He travelled to California to join her. He married her, and the couple returned to Scotland to achieve reconciliation with his parents. Health conditions compelled Stevenson to travel, accompanied by his wife and his stepson. The work that first gave him fame was Treasure Island, a story of piracy set in the 18th century. For Stevenson the novel was an evasion of everyday life into adventure. He managed to create an illusion of reality thanks to his great attention to detail. The Black Arrow was a romance set in the period of the Wars of the Roses. The Stevensons lived at Bournemouth. He wrote Kidnapped another romance set in the Scotland of 18th century, and the Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. The Stevensons returned to America where he wrote The Master of Ballantrae. The writer finally settling in Samoa. These years were happy and productive: he wrote a novella, The Beach of Falesa and Weir of Hermiston, a romantic historical novel on the theme of the conflict between father and son that he himself had experience. But it was never completed because Stevenson died in 1894.
The strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde was a novel set in Victorian London. A major component in Stevenson is the Scottish Presbyterian belief in predestination and one of his great themes is the conflict between good and evil. The conflict is at the basis of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. A strange and fascinating work which can be read as a moral allegory and a thriller, a psychological study and a horror story. A lawyer, Mr Utterson, hears a strange episode of cruelty performed by an ugly and repulsive man, Mr Hyde. To his surprise, the lawyer finds that this man seems to be protected by one of his clients, the honest and respectable Dr Jekyll. A year passes. One night a good old gentleman is murdered, and a witness identifies the criminal in Mr Hyde. Dr Jekyll is suspected of hiding him. The doctor begins to life secluded and hardly ever comes out of his laboratory. On another night, Jekyll’s servant goes to the lawyer’s house to ask for help because his master refuse to open the door of the laboratory and his voice seems strange. The two man break the laboratory door open. They find Mr Hyde dead. On the table they find an envelope address to Mr Utton and it contains a paper written by Jekyll himself. It is a sort of spiritual autobiography, and gives a complete solution of the mystery. He was born in a respectable family. He investigated the phenomenon of the dualism of human beings. Dr Jekyll drank the potion. Jekyll one morning realizes that he is Hyde. The change has become automatic, and therefore more and more difficult to control: Hyde does not accept a secondary role. The doctor knows that Hyde may kill again and again, and he decided to kill Hyde.