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Halloween Countdown, Day 27

Nightmare by Fuseli
Originally uploaded by chowen
Happy birthday to jinjifore and edroxy! May you both have fantastic days and wonderful years to come.

LINKS OF THE DAY: Today I have some reading to recommend:

* The Delights of Terror by Terry Heller is a fascinating look at the aesthetics of the tale of terror, with particular focus on Bram Stoker, Edgar Allan Poe, and Henry James.

* Past issues of Gothic Studies, the journal of the International Gothic Association, are available for free reading here. Articles cover a wide spectrum of topics, from Mary Shelley and The Island of Doctor Moreau to Eminem and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

* Project Gutenberg's Horror Bookshelf offers a wide range of classic fiction available online "intended to scare, unsettle, or horrify the audience."

Next, here is an excerpt from the 1920 silent film version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde starring John Barrymore. This video uses accompanying music from the Devil Music Ensemble.

LITERATURE OF THE DAY: For the last two years I've reread this story around Halloween, and it never fails to deliver the chills. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894) is a classic for a reason! Don't forget that The Classic Tales Podcast currently is running an unabridged dramatic reading of this tale, as well.

Excerpt from The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde:
And as she so sat she became aware of an aged and beautiful gentleman with white hair, drawing near along the lane; and advancing to meet him, another and very small gentleman, to whom at first she paid less attention. When they had come within speech (which was just under the maid’s eyes) the older man bowed and accosted the other with a very pretty manner of politeness. It did not seem as if the subject of his address were of great importance; indeed, from his pointing, it sometimes appeared as if he were only inquiring his way; but the moon shone on his face as he spoke, and the girl was pleased to watch it, it seemed to breathe such an innocent and old-world kindness of disposition, yet with something high too, as of a well-founded self-content. Presently her eye wandered to the other, and she was surprised to recognise in him a certain Mr. Hyde, who had once visited her master and for whom she had conceived a dislike. He had in his hand a heavy cane, with which he was trifling; but he answered never a word, and seemed to listen with an ill-contained impatience. And then all of a sudden he broke out in a great flame of anger, stamping with his foot, brandishing the cane, and carrying on (as the maid described it) like a madman. The old gentleman took a step back, with the air of one very much surprised and a trifle hurt; and at that Mr. Hyde broke out of all bounds and clubbed him to the earth. And next moment, with ape-like fury, he was trampling his victim under foot and hailing down a storm of blows, under which the bones were audibly shattered and the body jumped upon the roadway. At the horror of these sights and sounds, the maid fainted.

Read the complete story.



( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 27th, 2008 01:29 pm (UTC)
You probably already know this, but B.J. Harrison is releasing a great audio version of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in 3 parts at The Classic Tales.
Oct. 27th, 2008 03:03 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the reminder! I linked to it in a previous countdown post, but I definitely should mention the podcast again here with the story. I'll make that edit now. I appreciate it!
Oct. 27th, 2008 02:51 pm (UTC)
Lots of spooky things in this post, but that nightmare painting never fails to creep me out!
Oct. 27th, 2008 03:04 pm (UTC)
that nightmare painting never fails to creep me out!

Me, too!
Oct. 30th, 2008 02:33 am (UTC)
Especially that horse at the foot of the bed...
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Oct. 28th, 2008 01:37 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much for your kind words about my Halloween countdown! That makes my day. :)

You know, I didn't realize how much Edinburgh influenced Stevenson's story until very recently, when I saw a documentary about it, and about the rather split personality of the city's divisions at the time. It certainly makes me appreciate the Jekyll story even more now that I have that historical context (and the mental image of those narrow alleyways and underground chambers, etc.).

(Deleted comment)
Oct. 30th, 2008 02:38 am (UTC)
Martin's Close, one of the most famous and horrible such places in literature, and one of my favorite MRJ tales (but who can choose among them?)
Oct. 31st, 2008 02:32 pm (UTC)
Absolutely fantastic stuff. I love it.
Oct. 27th, 2008 09:28 pm (UTC)
They take their Gothic Studies very seriously in that journal. I got to nosing about on the site for a bit. Interesting.

Oh, that Nightmare painting as always given me the shivers.
Oct. 28th, 2008 01:39 pm (UTC)
They do! I like how they address both historical and contemporary subjects, too.

Isn't that painting haunting? It gives me the shivers, too.
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )