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Tony Grist

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Dr Jekyll And Mr Hyde [Feb. 27th, 2011|10:03 am]
Tony Grist
Is Dr Jekyll a universal fable- or a fable about what Christianity- more especially Puritan Christianity- does to people? The introduction to the Oxford World Classics edition (by Emma Letley) goes on about how very very Scottish it is. Presbyterianism- with its fetish for public rectitude- makes it inevitable that people will lead double lives. Last night I read the book at a sitting. For all its familiarity It still packs quite a punch. 

Two things i had forgotten: 

1. that Jekyll was never a "good" man but had always lived a divided life. What the potion does is to isolate- and intensify- the part of him that is enslaved by his "undignified" vices.

2. That Hyde- far from being the the hulking apeman of the movies, is a creepy, white-faced dwarf. There is certain pathos about him. Jekyll's clothes are far too big for him and he has to roll up the trouser legs and sleeves- for all the world like a child playing dress up. 
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: calizen
2011-02-27 04:57 pm (UTC)
Quite a number of fanatical religions have that about them.
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[User Picture]From: michaleen
2011-02-28 10:11 am (UTC)
Indeed, though still one must admire the resistance Calvinism puts up to any attempt at treatment. I don't know that the US will ever recover, not in my lifetime.
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[User Picture]From: calizen
2011-02-28 06:07 pm (UTC)
Quite agree with you. Thought we had a chance for change in the 70s and nope, the Calvinists and the like were just taking a breath to jump back into the fray.
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[User Picture]From: michaleen
2011-03-01 11:44 am (UTC)
I think hope today lies in technology and demographics, if you could call that "hope". Communications technology is increasingly giving children an alternative to the culture of their immediate family and the God-bothering segment of the population appears to be shrinking. But such technology is a very, very mixed blessing, so the cure could be conceivably worse than the disease.
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[User Picture]From: calizen
2011-03-01 04:58 pm (UTC)
I love your words "God-bothering". How right on that is!
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