Robert Louis Stevenson, 1850-1894  'Kidnapped' illustration by W R S Stott

A chapter on dreams

Robert Louis Stevenson's health declined sharply throughout 1884, and his anxious parents persuaded him to return from the Continent. He settled as far north as he dared, and they bought him a villa in Bournemouth.

There he began work on 'Kidnapped', his famous story of the adventures of David Balfour following the Jacobite Rebellion of 1745.

Jekyll and Hyde
This work was suddenly interrupted by a dream, which was to become 'The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde':

'I had long been trying to write a story on that strong sense of man's double being … for two days I went about racking my brains for a plot of any sort; and on the second night I dreamed the scene at the window, and a scene afterwards split in two, in which Hyde, pursued for some crime, took the powder and underwent the change in the presence of his pursuers.'

Immediate success
The novel was 'conceived, written, re-written, re-re-written, and printed inside ten weeks'. It was an immediate success, and the names 'Jekyll' and 'Hyde' have now become synonymous with good and evil.

The 'Young Folks Paper'  'Catriona' cover
 'Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde' cover
'Kidnapped' illustration



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