A story of a journey into man’s unknown self : Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1886) by Robert Louis Stevenson.
One evening, Mr. Enfield tells Mr. Utterson about a strange accident he saw: a man knocked a little girl down and kicked her. The girl’s family and neighbours, attracted by her screams, obliged that small, ugly man to pay for his crime. He entered the door and returned with a cheque signed by a well-known gentleman, Dr. Jekyll. Mr. Utterson is surprised: Dr. Jekyll, an old friend of his, had given him his will in which he left all his possessions to a Mr. Hyde.
Utterson decides to look for this man, but when he succeeds in meeting him, Hyde becomes very suspicious and enters a door. Utterson goes to the other side of the house and discovers that it is Dr. Jekyll’s house and that Hyde has complete access to it.
About a year later a maid (camerieira) sees a terrible crime, the murder (assassinio) of a Member of Parliament, Sir Danvers Carew. The girl identifies the murderer in Mr. Hyde. Mr. Utterson goes with a policeman to the man’s apartment, but he has already left.
Some time later, Dr. Lanyon, One of Mr Utterson and Dr Jekyll’s friends, dies and leaves a letter addressed to Utterson to be opened only after Jekyll’s death.
Meanwhile Jeckyll does not appear with his friends any longer and one day Jekyll’s butler, Poole goes to Mr. Utterson. He says that the doctor has been shut up (chiuso) for a week in his laboratory and has sent him to various chemists’ to look for a mysterious drug.
Mr. Utterson follows Poole to the laboratory; they pull (sbattono) the door down and discover the corpse of Mr. Hyde. He has committed suicide drinking a fatal portion. But looking for Dr. Jekyll, they find no sign of him except for a letter addressed to Utterson.
He goes home and reads first Dr. Lanyon’s letter and then Dr. Jekyll’s one.
Both letters reveal the terrible truth : Dr. Henry Jekyll and Mr Hyde are the same person.
The doctor had evaluated the difference between his private and social life and this reflection, together with his scientific knowledge, led him to think about the possibly of isolating these separate halves of his personality. He compounded a mixture, drank it and so became Mr.Hyde; but he could turn into Dr. Jeckyll any time he wanted. But soon Jekyll’s nature was totally occupied by Hyde’s one. He sent Poole to look for the originals compound everywhere: that drug must have possessed some element that could not be reproduced. In despair, Dr. Jekyll committed suicide.
It has been noted that Robert Louis Stevenson‘s ‘Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is as empty of female presences as a London club. The lawyer Utterson and the young businessman Enfield who between them tell the story, Dr. Jekyll himself, even the butler Poole, are all bachelors. Hyde’s sins may involve women, but unlike Oscar Wilde in ”The Picture of Dorian Gray,” Stevenson did not name them or describe them except in horrid generalities.
Now Valerie Martinhas had the terrific idea of retelling the story of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde from the point of view of someone who might well have been a witness to the events, but who was invisible to the original teller – doubly invisible, for Mary Reilly – it is also the title of the book – is not only a woman but a servant.