UPDATE! Link fixed. Episode here. My apologies.
Welcome to Part Six of the latest audio entertainment in our series Tales for Our Time: This psychological shocker was published in 1886 and became an instant classic: The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson. Michelle Dulak, a first-day Founding Member of The Mark Steyn Club, writes:
A propos "subconsciousness" and Jekyll/Hyde, it's curious that only a few years after the Stevenson, Oscar Wilde wrote The Picture of Dorian Gray, a different but complementary treatment of the outward man and his dark, inward self. Maybe it was something in the end-of-the-19th-c. water in the UK?
I think it was in the water not just in Britain but all over Europe. Oscar Wilde's book appeared four years after Stevenson, but the idea of the "subconscious" was floating around among theorists in Paris and Vienna, so it's the sort of thing a sociable writer might find himself talking about with chaps at the coffee house - in the same way that a novelist now might find himself today chatting with someone about virtual reality or genetic modification and think, "Hmm. There's a book in that..." In this case, the big novels appeared just before Freud, for example, became a continental celebrity, but both were part of the same trend.
In tonight's episode, Mr Utterson, the lawyer, and Poole, the butler, prepare to break into Dr Jekyll's laboratory and discover the truth:
"Do you know, Poole," he said, looking up, "that you and I are about to place ourselves in a position of some peril?"
"You may say so, sir, indeed," returned the butler.
"It is well, then, that we should be frank," said the other. "We both think more than we have said; let us make a clean breast. This masked figure that you saw, did you recognise it?"
"Well, sir, it went so quick, and the creature was so doubled up, that I could hardly swear to that," was the answer. "But if you mean, was it Mr. Hyde?—why, yes, I think it was! You see, it was much of the same bigness; and it had the same quick, light way with it; and then who else could have got in by the laboratory door? You have not forgot, sir that at the time of the murder he had still the key with him? But that's not all. I don't know, Mr. Utterson, if ever you met this Mr. Hyde?"
"Yes," said the lawyer, "I once spoke with him."
"Then you must know as well as the rest of us that there was something queer about that gentleman—something that gave a man a turn—I don't know rightly how to say it, sir, beyond this: that you felt it in your marrow kind of cold and thin."
"I own I felt something of what you describe," said Mr. Utterson.
"Quite so, sir," returned Poole.
Members of The Mark Steyn Club can hear Part Six of our tale simply by clicking here and logging-in. Earlier episodes can be found here.
If you're one of that brave band who prefer me in vision, I'll be back with Tucker Carlson tomorrow evening, Thursday, coast to coast across America at 8pm Eastern/5pm Pacific. Hope you'll tune in. And, of course, an hour or so before that we'll be right here with Part Seven of The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.
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