Robert Louis Stevenson was born in 1850 in Heriot Row in the New Town Edinburgh. He grew up there with his mum, who was an invalid, and his dad, but he was away most of the time because he worked in building lighthouses which he had to travel far away to do. He also grew up with his nurse, Alison Conningham, who R.L.S refered to as his “second mum.” She taught him about good and evil and you will go to hell if you be bad and that people have a good and bad side to them.
This influenced him to write “Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde” as that story involves one person walking about in the day as a respectable, loyal man, but at night, he takes a potion and his evil side comes out and walks the streets and does bad things, like murder an MP. Alison also read him the bible at night and at one point R.L.S was afraid to even close his eyes and go to sleep he was so afraid, and thought he was going to go to hell if he slept. He had nightmares when he DID get to sleep, the book “Dr Jekyl and Mr Hyde” was based on part of these nightmares but he didnt start to think about it untill later on when he was older and he had these nightmares again.
As R.L.S got older, he was leading a double life himself, at night he was drawn to old town full of old derilict houses, prostitutes, thiefs and murderers. There was a man, Deacon Brodie, who made fine cabinets, one in which lied in R.L.S’s room He was a fine respectable person by day but at night he was a thief, mugger and burgler. R.L.S looked up to this man, and when Deacon Brodie was caught, he was hanged by his own creation he designed.
Another one of these kind of people were Burke and Hare, University scientists or researchers used to pay people for fresh dead bodies, from graves preferably, as long as they were dead these researchers didnt care, Well Burke and Hare, to provide REALLY fresh bodies, used to kill people and send them straight to the university so they were sure they were fresh and got paid big money as the researchers needed these bodies to practice and learn about the anatomy. In the end, one turned the other in and Burke was hung, his skin was said to be used for binding books.
R.L.S wrote a book called “The Body Snatchers,” in this book R.L.S made a character, he was Burke Hare and Knox all in one man, Know was a well known popular guy in the day time, but at night, like all the others, dealt in dirty dealings with bodies.
In 1873 Robert Louis Stevenson left Edinburgh and spent 10 years traveling to England, France and America. In 1884 his doctor advised him to live in Bournemouth as he was ill and suffered from severe heamhorraging. Here he settled down with his wife, Fanny Osborne, and his parents were so glad he settled down they gave Fanny some money to re do a house they called “Skerryvore”. He wrote his first draft of “Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde” after the nightmare he had.
The first draft took him 3 days to write 30 thousand words, he gave it to his wife, Fanny Osborne, to read, and she described it as “to dark,” in anger he threw it in the fire and no one but Fanny has read it. It then took him 6 more days to write the story we read today. The story he finally wrote was of a fine respectable man and he wanted to see what would happen if he drank a potion that would free his bad side, everything he wanted to say or do as he was good that he couldn’t say, he drank the potion and it would do it for him. The Edward Hyde in the story was described as young, this suggests he is young because he is like newly born and he has been couped up all this time and now he is free and as he is free he goes forth to do bad things and be evil.
Sometime after that a man, called , did a play and he was playing both parts, Henry Jekyll and Mr Hyde, using make-up and lighting to change his face from kind, old and warm to young, skinny and horrific. This man turned the respectable, chilling but not horrific book into horror and a thrilling tale. Soon after there was a series of murders by a person named Jack the Ripper. People who had seen play told police they thought he was Jack The Ripper, killing prostitutes and sending peoples liver into the police in half and saying he had eaten the other half, it was tasty, they told police this as they had seen how dark and thrilling the stage production was and thought he was like that for real and was a murderer. When heard this he closed the play emediatly.
There has been many adaptations from the book into the movie. In the book the only woman we hear of is the survant who witnesses the Carew murder, and Mr Hydes maid who lived in Soho. But as the films were made Mr Hyde became a murderer of women, prostitutes and so on which is another reason we think Jack the Ripper was inspired by R.L.S’s “Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.”
R.L.S died 1894 in Samoa, not because of heamorrages but of hard work.