I discovered Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde in my junior high school library. At that point, I was an avid fan of the Saturday afternoon creature feature. I’d read Dracula and Frankenstein. I was looking for more in that vein. The librarian pointed me toward Stevenson.
Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde is an amazing little book. I’m not sure I understood anything more than the surface horror story when I read it at age 12. Years later, after college and some years blurred by amphetamine, I was impressed with Stevenson’s depth of knowledge about addiction and the sad, strange torsions in logic to which it can lead a person. I think I get more from the book each time I reread it.
It’s hard for me to connect the foggy streets of London with the grave in Samoa where Stevenson ended up, but the path leads through the California Gold Country and a Child’s Garden of Verses, with detours into pirates and body snatchers. There were always shadows beneath the sunshine.
I may never get the opportunity to visit Stevenson’s grave, so this will have to serve as my tribute to him: virtual flowers at a virtual grave. Tomorrow it will be featured on the Cemetery of the Week.