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Stevenson: Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde

7. Sex and Sexuality

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About this Lecture

Lecture

In this module, we think about the presentation of sex and sexuality in the novel, focusing in particular on: (i) the lack of named women in the novel; (ii) the particular kind of men that we meet in the novel, and the form of masculinity that is being performed; (iii) the importance of the curious fact that Henry Jekyll is a doctor, whereas Edward Hyde is not; (iv) the extent to which Mr Hyde draws out a certain kind of masculinity from those who see him; (vi) the extent to which Dr Jekyll's dependence on the drug that transforms him into My Hyde is presented as a failure of manhood; (vii) the strange description of Dr Jekyll's/Mr Hyde's hands; (viii) the extent to the novel can be read as an exploration of Jekyll's repressed (homo)sexual desires; (ix) the presence of female characters in the text, e.g. the maidservant who witnesses the murder of Sir Danvers Carew, the unnamed woman who sells Mr Hyde a box of matches, etc.; (x) the extent to which the exclusion of (named) women can be seen as misogynistic; and (xi) the presence of two importance women in the story of the novel – Stevenson's wife, Fanny, who helped edit the text, and Katharine de Mattos, the women to whom the novel is dedicated.

Course

In this course, Dr Christopher Pittard (University of Portsmouth) explores Robert Louis Stevenson's 1886 novel, Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. In the first module, we think about the genre of the novel, before turning in the second novel to consider the implications of its title – not 'Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde', but 'Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde'. In the third module, we provide a close reading of the opening paragraph of the novel, thinking in particular about the character of Mr Utterson and the extent to which the first paragraph introduces the reader (if obliquely) to some of the key themes in the novel. After that, we think about the theme of degeneration, before turning in the fifth, sixth and seventh modules to some Freudian themes in the novel: the unconscious, the uncanny and sex and sexuality. In the eighth module, we think about the extent to which the novel reflects on its own conditions of textuality, before turning in the ninth and final module to think about how the novel explores anxieties about national identity.

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.

Lecturer

Dr Christopher Pittard joined the University of Portsmouth in 2009, having held previous teaching positions at Newcastle University and the University of Exeter. His main research focus is on the popular culture of the nineteenth century, especially the emergence of popular genres in the Victorian fin de siecle and detective fiction in particular. His monograph, Purity and Contamination in Late Victorian Detective Fiction, considers how such fictions (and the periodicals in which they appeared) engaged with ideas of material and social purity, ranging from Sherlock Holmes cleaning the face of criminality in “The Man with the Twisted Lip” to the moral policing carried out by the Social Purity movements and late Victorian antivivisection campaigns. His publications in this area include discussions of Arthur Conan Doyle, Arthur Morrison, Fergus Hume, and of the Strand Magazine more widely.

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Cite this Lecture

APA style

Pittard, C. (2021, March 08). Stevenson: Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde - Sex and Sexuality [Video]. MASSOLIT. https://www.massolit.io/courses/stevenson-dr-jekyll-and-mr-hyde-pittard/sex-and-sexuality

MLA style

Pittard, C. "Stevenson: Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde – Sex and Sexuality." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 08 Mar 2021, https://www.massolit.io/courses/stevenson-dr-jekyll-and-mr-hyde-pittard/sex-and-sexuality

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