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7. Chapter 2 – Utterson Meets Hyde (pp. 14-18)
About this Lecture
In this module, we read through the second half of the second chapter of the novel, in which Utterson encounters Mr. Hyde. In particular, we think about: (i) the dramatic irony experienced by the modern reader who knows that Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde are the same person, but not perhaps by the first readership; (ii) the prevalence of animalistic imagery in relation to Hyde, especially that of the snake; (iii) the narrator’s insistence on the uniqueness of the case, the fact that this kind of thing has never happened before; (iv) the influence of the story of Dr Faustus, the scientist who sold his soul to the devil; (v) the figure of Poole, the butler; (vi) the resonances of the laboratory and dissecting room, particularly in relation to the historical case of Burke and Hare; and (vii) the theme of secrets that must be brought to light.
In this course, Professor John McRae (University of Nottingham) explores Robert Louis Stevenson’s ‘Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde’. In the first two modules, we provide a broad introduction to the social, historical, cultural context of the novel, focusing in particular on Stevenson’s life and career, his literary and cultural influences, and his own influence on later writers. In the seventeen modules that follow, we read through the novel chapter-by-chapter, providing close reading and analysis, including commentary on themes and motifs, the structure of the novel, its multiple narrators and narratives, significant objects (keys, doors, hands, mirrors, etc.), literary influences (Shakespeare, Marlowe, James Hogg, etc.), intellectual influences (Darwin, Nietzsche, Freud), important elements from Stevenson’s own life – and much, much more.
Note: Page numbers in these lectures refers to the Penguin Classics edition of the novel (‘The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and Other Tales of Terror’, ed. Robert Mighall). Students using a different version of the novel may encounter slight differences in page numbering.
John McRae is Special Professor of Language in Literature Studies and Teaching Associate in the School of English at Nottingham University, and holds Visiting Professorships in China, Malaysia, Spain and the USA. He is co-author of The Routledge History of Literature in English with Ron Carter, and also wrote The Language of Poetry, Literature with a Small 'l' and the first critical edition of Teleny by Oscar Wilde and others.
Cite this Lecture
McRae, J. (2020, October 22). Stevenson: Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde - Chapter 2 – Utterson Meets Hyde (pp. 14-18) [Video]. MASSOLIT. https://massolit.io/courses/stevenson-dr-jekyll-and-mr-hyde-mcrae/chapter-2-utterson-meets-hyde-pp-14-18
McRae, J. "Stevenson: Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde – Chapter 2 – Utterson Meets Hyde (pp. 14-18)." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 22 Oct 2020, https://massolit.io/courses/stevenson-dr-jekyll-and-mr-hyde-mcrae/chapter-2-utterson-meets-hyde-pp-14-18