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Stevenson: Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde

6. Chapter 2 – Hyde and Seek (pp. 11-14)

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In this module, we read through the first half of the second chapter of the novel, in which Utterson visits Dr. Lanyon to find out more about the mysterious “Mr. Hyde”. In particular, we think about: (i) the prevalence of binary descriptions in the novel (e.g. “It offended him both as a lawyer and a lover…”); (ii) the presentation of Dr Lanyon (“a hearty, healthy, dapper, red-faced gentleman”) as a kind of mirror-image of Mr Utterson (“cold, scanty and embarrassed in discourse”, p. 5); (iii) the importance of “haunting” in the novel, in both physical and psychological terms; (iv) the popularity of the mystery novel in later Victoria England and the ways in which Stevenson subverts the expectations of the genre; and (v) Stevenson’s technique of having Utterson hear Mr. Hyde approach before he sees him (“The steps drew swiftly nearer, and swelled out suddenly louder as they turned the end of the street”).


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.

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APA style

McRae, J. (2020, October 22). Stevenson: Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde - Chapter 2 – Hyde and Seek (pp. 11-14) [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

McRae, J. "Stevenson: Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde – Chapter 2 – Hyde and Seek (pp. 11-14)." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 22 Oct 2020,

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