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Everything is true...

only the opposite is true too; you must believe both equally or be
- R. L. Stevenson (quoted by James Campbell for The Guardian)

So for all of my complaining, Im already officially distracted. My exploratory plan has

been sort of split between two areas: postcolonial lit/theory and the idea of recursive
fiction. [I'm going to rethink using that term. It's one I grabbed from someone else
talking about works like Wide Sargasso Sea and Foe--retellings of stories we already
know, but from different viewpoints or in different contexts. I thought it might be a
Catherine Romano 2/27/2017 12:59 AM
tidy way of encapsulating those works as well as the adaptations I've been looking at, Comment [1]: so like what Gregory
but I think maybe the term is too loaded with other meanings to really serve my Maguire does (Wicked, etc)?
Andrea Quinn 2/26/2017 11:48 PM
purpose. I just did a quick Internet hunt and found that its much more often related Comment [2]: Oh, I hadn't even
to logical or linguistic recursion (duh). I hadnt considered the weightedness of the considered his work! Hmm...I'm wondering
now where I draw my line. Baum was
word and that recursive fiction, might not be immediately understood to mean what publishing his stuff at the same time as all
of these other texts (like Wizard of Oz was
I mean when I use it.] published right in 1900) AND couldn't be
MORE in conversation with the colonial
I thought I was looking at the value of reexamining literature written during Englands situation. You're really cutting to the core
time as a great empire and the period directly following through more modern lenses-- of my Children's Lit heart.

how we might read our current historical moment in terms of the past. I was hoping
to take a sem paper I wrote last year and blow it up into something more in depth
with wider implications, etc. etc.

Instead, I ended up obsessing over Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde for a week. I
started with this novella because it seems to round out the series of works that began
my project (not only but chiefly Wuthering Heights, Frankenstein, Dracula, Heart of
Darkness and The Picture of Dorian Gray), and I had a feeling it would communicate well
with what I hope my project will eventually become.

I hadnt realized how slim Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is until I picked it up last week. Its
pretty sparse, really, but intertextually, its full to bursting. I kind of ended up reading
it less for its own sake and more as a shorthand index for what Ive been working
through in my other readings, which was a surprise to me. Before reading, my guess
was that Id be most interested in the forced split Jekyll imposes upon himself which
creates a sort of concentrated, physically separated, evil twin,--a la Dorian and his

picture. I was wondering if Id be able to apply a similar argument to this work that I
did to Dorian, that we might read Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde as a sort of
allegory for the empire and the danger of refusing to recognize that the dichotomy we
force between self and other is one that stands to cause us as much harm as it
does them. And while I was able to find all of that in the text (pretty explicitly, too),
it actually ended up being what I was least interested in.

Instead, I kept coming back to the ways in which, narratively more than thematically,
this text is in conversation with the earlier ones on my list. The shifting narrative
Andrew Kopp 2/26/2017 12:10 PM
voices and use of the epistle present in Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde are Comment [3]: forecast the "ways" in a
commonalities shared by nearly every text Ive so far worked with for this project. For brief list, perhaps, to give something for us
to hold on to as you proceed down this
example, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde begins with a conversation between two men, Mr. intertextual network

Enfield and Mr. Utterson. Enfield tells Utterson of an encounter with the evil Mr.
Hyde. The first few chapters continue in this way, Utterson narrating through first
person, the events as they unfold. The last two chapters though are just a retelling of
the events from two new perspectives in the form of two letters, the penultimate a
written narrative from Dr. Jekylls friend, Dr. Lanyon, and the final from Dr. Jekyll,
himself. Its not technically a frame narrative because we never move back outside the
most central narrative of Jekylls. But, still, this structuring reminds me of Frankenstein,
which features the creatures narrative, framed by Victor Frankensteins narrative,
framed by the ship captain Robert Waltons narrative, itself, told in the form of letters.
Frankensteins narrative works its way in from Walton, to Frankenstein, to the creature
and back out, bringing the creature along with it, so the last thing readers witness is
the creature breaking off into the night, almost as if freed from the narrative confines
of the novel. That so much overlap occurs between and across these works has some
simple answers, Victorian novelists writing at the height of British imperialism are
going to share certain anxieties that they express through their writing, but if it were
that easy, wed be able to make the same claim about any commonly situated group of
writers from any period of time (huh, maybe we can?). Either way, Im especially
Catherine Romano 2/27/2017 12:03 AM
interested in this particular--Okay, I need to cut myself off here because I feel like Im Comment [4]: Jenn's project a little bit?
writing myself into a spiral. Not a spiral. Theres something ouroborosian about how
Catherine Romano 2/27/2017 12:20 AM
Im thinking about this stuff, which I know is appropriate to the content, but Im Comment [5]: it makes sense that this is
frustrated by the fact that I cant get to the bottom of it, and I dont just want to keep the word because it's got all of ouroboros
in it (which my spellcheck wants me to
saying the same thing over and over here, so Im going to press pause on this one for change to Borobudur), but ouroborean
makes me think of the northern lights and I
a minute. like it.

[So, Cates contribution on the left is more accurately an ouroboros, but I was
picturing Auryn from The Neverending Story, which I like as a representation of my own
thought process right now since Im not just eating my own tail, but tangled up with
another thing (the texts Im reading and the uncanny which Ill get to shortly) thats
also eating its own tail, and I guess maybe I need to work on untangling both before I
can really get to the bottom of things.]

In contrast, Jekyll and Hyde drags us down into the narrative, giving us all of the
information we need to understand the events, and never moves back out from
Jekylls letter, so we stay trapped with him. Im still thinking about what this means
for me, but I do think its significant that the last words we get are the written words
Andrew Kopp 2/27/2017 12:18 AM
of a dead man and that they do nothing but clear up for us a mystery that has really Comment [6]: why?
already been solved. There are also connections to be made between this structure Andrea Quinn 2/27/2017 12:18 AM
Comment [7]: It's another instance of
and that of Heart of Darkness, itself, like Frankenstein, a story shared between men on a this spiraling I'm working through. We're
boat (although in Frankenstein, Walton mails his letters out to his sister, further freeing just being told the same thing from a
different angle and it doesn't do anything
the creature from the novels bounds), recounting an almost unspeakable horror, the to change the outcome or advance the
action. We keep retreading old ground?
horror of which is the result of a mans treatment of the other humans around him,
the treatment of which reflects back on the person carry out the atrocities, which is
very similar to what happens in The Picture of Dorian Gray.

Drew: Wise words from my co-writer to me, which I will pass on to you: when you
try to pack everything into a single sentence, a lot gets lost. --Only go for a long

sentence every once in a long while. Break it down and try to work out the details
simply, so that a student in fyc can get it.

My point is that these stories intersect in so many different, sort of criss-crossing,

ways that it's almost overwhelming. I was being purposefully longwinded.

I can get that. I think. But what might this phenomenon be called so that we can
begin to see the patterns you are seeing?

Who else is talking/writing about these things?

I need to do some more research here because until this week I was really invested in
postcolonial readings which are less focused on the narrative theory/narratology/etc.
I'm going to revisit Silverman this week. I've also been thinking a lot about the
hermeneutic code because most of these books point to some enigmatic horror which
has already occurred and is being recounted to the reader with the use of these little
narrative tricks (e.g., overlapping but alternatingly focalized accounts and claims of


Although that novel lacks the epistolary nature of the others it very directly deals with
the self/other split that Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde makes explicit and which is implied
throughout Heart of Darkness and Frankenstein. And just like Dracula, a horrific story
cannot be contained to one persons narrative--it takes a collection of voices
combined to make the horror whole.

(Heres where Dr. Kopp asked Why? in the side comments) terms of
Dracula, I think it has a lot to do with a few different things. Mina collects the
fragments and is allowed access to the narrative in order to make it cohesive but is
blocked from actually engaging in the action. She's receptacle and record but not actor
(which happens to women all throughout the novel). It's also about technology:
Catherine Romano 2/26/2017 11:24 PM
different voices recorded different ways, England was kind of obsessing about the Comment [8]: all throughout literature.
gramophone and things like that at this time, anything that could separate the voice FTFY ;)

from the body. I think because doing so is another kind of self/other split. Its one of

the reasons its so eerie (uncanny?) that Marlow first encounters Kurtz as a voice in
Heart of Darkness. None of that really answers your question about why horror
specifically needs a multitude of voices. I should have articulated my meaning there a
little more clearly because, of course, there are plenty of horror narratives that dont
rely on more than one narrator (or more than one focalization anyway), but it seems
like this method (? thats not the word Im looking for) is used enough in 19th century
Catherine Romano 2/27/2017 1:17 AM
works of gothic/horror thats it worth examining. Comment [9]: strategy? I dunno what
word you want either. I think what you're
describing though is called polyvocality?
Im writing myself into a spiral here on purpose. Its no surprise how much these Andrea Quinn 2/27/2017 1:02 AM
novels share thematically: theyre all written by middle and upper class white Victorian Comment [10]: Heteroglossia, too. It's
not the convention itself--oh, convention.
novelists within about 75 years of one another, so its no surprise that their concerns That's the word.

express themselves similarly. But its kind of dizzying how much these works share on
a structural level.

Nicolina: Every time I read this book, I always view it as a 'self-portrayal' of sorts. The
same thing could be said of Frankenstein (which I'm reading next week!) and The
Picture of Dorian Gray, where we see the good and the bad in ourselves and how we
are constantly separating each side. There's the side that we publicly display (Jekyll)
and the side that we know is our monster that we try to hide (Hyde, I now understand
why he's named that).

Andrea: Yeah, I think it's really interesting that all of these separations are active
choices made by Frankenstein (not a big leap to read the creature similarly) Dorian,
and Jekyll. Not just some unconscious thing clamoring to get out, which is how
Freud presents the uncanny. We repress something and it pops back up later, imbued
with an uneasy feeling we can't quite put our finger on.


Im less concerned this week with what the novels say than how they say it. It seems
like reading so many works operating in similar genres from a fairly common
historical moment makes it that much easier to consider how each work functions

Ive been sitting in on a lit theory course in the English department and this week we
worked on Freuds theory of the uncanny and Lacans discussion of the mirror stage.
It ended up being perfect timing since one of my self-assigned secondary readings for
Jekyll and Hyde is an article by Shafquat Towheed, called R. L. Stevensons Sense of
the Uncanny: The Face in the Cheval-Glass.

Drew: Nicolina, you should add this essay of Freuds (The Uncanny) to your list.

Nicolina: This is helpful for me because I am also exploring the uncanny through the
sublime as dream distortion and lucidity by an essay written by Louis Kontos. In
reference to Freud and Kant, he states that the reason why it is familiar to us is
because our subconscious has already placed the memories there for us and we are
recollecting these memories ("the uncanny") and that creates fear. "This is because
something is missing from the lucid present, namely a sense of motion, a prospective
and retrogressive feel, texture, and undeniable presence of time" (Kontos 4).

Andrea: Definitely agree with Dr. Kopp here; I'd go right to the source on this. The
essay is accessible (both, like, in terms of being able to find it online easily and to
understand its content) and might help you out with the horror side of things you've
been talking about. I can share Towheed with you too, if you'd like. It was helpful for
me to have a reading of Freud through a literary lens (even though--or maybe
because--Freud backs away from doing a reading of the uncanny in literature).


Its a reading of how the uncanny functions in the text, but its also how the uncanny
functions in Freuds essay, something Ive never really considered when Ive read the
essay in other courses. Freud presents two ways in which we might consider the

Either we can find out what meaning has come to be attached to the
uncanny in the course of its history; or we can collect all those
properties of persons, things, sense-impressions, experiences and

situations which arouse in us the feeling of uncanniness, and then infer
the unknown nature of the uncanny from what all these examples have
in common. I will say at once that both courses lead back to the same
result: the uncanny is that class of the frightening which leads back to
what is known and familiar. (qtd. In Towheed 24-5)

That both attempts lead back to the same instance of what we already know is telling.
In fact, Towheed argues that in Freuds attempt to define and distinguish the uncanny
he is being uncanny about the uncanny; the admission that both paths will lead back
to the same answer makes the whole essay part of Freuds own compulsion to
repeat; rather appropriately, the first reference to the existence of this essay tells us
that it is in fact an old paper thats in the process of being rewritten (25). In his
attempt to communicate his understanding of the uncanny, Freud has managed to
replicate the feeling in his own work. Towheed then uses Freuds own uncanny
treatment of the uncanny to read Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, a work that I
was surprised to learn in my research this week has seen an inordinate number of
adaptations since basically its original publication--everything from film adaptations
that treat the material quite seriously, to an episode of Wishbone, a 90s childrens
television show about a Jack Russell terrier who shares his own retellings of classic
Andrew Kopp 2/26/2017 4:37 AM
Comment [11]: Looney Tunes has an
A mix of curiosity and nostalgia led me to rewatch Wishbones treatment of Strange Case awesome version
Andrea Quinn 2/26/2017 4:37 AM
of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. In it, Wishbone finds himself in the middle of a present day Comment [12]: Research. (bookmarked,
Jekyll and Hyde situation, wherein his owners high school teacher leads a secret life as thanks.)
I'm also building a little argument for
a local rock star, named Jim Dublin (get it? Doublin? Oh man). My guess is that the myself about the Monster at the End of
This Book and the function of mirrors in
wordplay would be lost on young viewers, which caused me to question who exactly Dracula, Jekyll, and Dorian Gray.
these kinds of adaptations are for and why we feel the need to revisit certain stories so
often. I was also struck, not just in the case of Wishbone but in most of the adaptations
Andrew Kopp 2/26/2017 4:42 AM
I read about or watched clips of on YouTube and Netflix that Hyde is often Comment [13]: Why this compulsion to
presented as much larger than Jekyll, as if this evil person is bursting to escape the repeat? What is the fascination with our
shadow, with our Kromer, our Demian?
confines of Jekylls goodness, yet Stevenson makes it known several times throughout Andrea Quinn 2/26/2017 4:42 AM
the short text that when Jekyll transforms into Hyde he is actually much smaller, Comment [14]: Exactly. There are easy
answers about the human condition, and
almost withered. the fact that we never learn from our past,
etc., but we could still revisit those themes
and ideas with new narratives. Why keep
calling up the same stories?

Nicolina: I thought the same thing! In Once Upon A Time, it was the only time that I've
seen Hyde in a vulnerable state when Jekyll was the one who pushed Mary out of the
window. Right away there is a switch of character dynamic and now Jekyll is the all
powerful one tearing Hyde apart, instead of the other way around that we were so
comfortable believing. Jekyll reached Hyde's weakness, killing Mary, and strengthened
his own evil tendencies. Or is it actually Hyde exercising his own by seeking revenge
on Jekyll and everyone around him?

Jekyll hypothesizes that this is because he has not had much chance to exercise his evil
whims, which is a fundamentally different way of understanding morality than the
majority of adaptations tend to present it. That is, whereas these adaptations seem to
view evil as something we keep trapped inside of ourselves, something that we fight
to keep repressed, Stevenson offers evil as a sort of muscle we can choose to exercise.
The more Hyde is able to engage in nefarious activities (all but two of which remain,
like Kurtzs horror and like Dorians activities in his opium dens, unspoken) the
stronger he gets and the more difficult it becomes for Jekyll to contain him.

I dont have a natural place to put this, but Ive been thinking about the word
uncanny itself all week. Freuds word is the German, unheimlich; which is close
enough to unhomely. Uncanny is the English word we use because its closer,
connotatively. What Im interested in though, is the way uncanny as a word has
itself become uncanny, in a manner similar to how Freud argues unheimlich becomes
unheimlich. Until I encountered Freud, Id always heard uncanny used to mean
nearly identical. This likely comes from Freuds discussion of doppelgangers and
mannequins and such being uncanny, but when we say the resemblance is uncanny,
we dont usually mean, they look so much alike that Im struck with an uneasy sort
of fear unlike any other fear Ive ever felt.

Jennifer: I would argue that the word "uncanny," even though it's most-used anymore
as a descriptor for "resemblance," is still doing the thing it's supposed to be doing?
They aren't saying that "the resemblance is super resembly," they're saying "the
resemblance is so identical that it sort of fucks with the way that I usually understand
the world, which is terrifying because it challenges my senses that are supposed to be
Always Right Forever."

Andrea: an extent. I think it's somewhere between my hopeful reading
(hopeful in that it's a cool thing I'd like to be able to say) and your more on-the-nose
reading (on-the-nose in that the word is being used in the way Freud intends with all
of its strangely unfamiliar familiarity). I've been making the "familiar, but not too
familiar, but not too not familiar" joke all week that only you will get, so I'm really
glad you brought this up so that I might share it with you.


Weve repressed the meaning of the word so that when we use it, we apply it to things
like twins, which are in and of themselves not all that uncanny, but they do sort of
Andrea Quinn 2/26/2017 12:26 PM
share a structural similarity to dopplegangers and mannequins and other beings that Comment [15]: Sorry, Jenn! You guys
do seem to designate themselves much more concretely as uncanny. aren't things. You're fully formed human
beings with separate identities or
Andrew Kopp 2/26/2017 12:26 PM
I would really love to see the uncanny (das Unheimlich) unfolded/unpacked a lot
Comment [16]: And the sense of "being"
more. Taking the familiar and known to start with: thats precisely the point, namely, is more like a process that gives the
illusion of a thing, rather than an thing.
that the uncanny cant be uncanny unless youve got the canny--the pleasantness and Things are only things in the concepts we
have for them. Sadly, we do this to people.
niceness of the unquestioned everyday, wherein we cope with recurring situations And our so-called selves.
with our customary practices, and we do so quite successfully. Its only in moments of
breakdown, when our everyday ways of coping fall apart, when the anomalous
appears and admits of no resolution back into the tracks of thought and practice we
are familiar with. When we are attuned to the uncanny in the canny, then we might
respond, but not by retreating to the ordinary. It is forbidden, in a sense. What does
this have to do with Jeckyl and Hyde? With the canny and the uncanny?

Im going to go back to dopplegangers because theyve helped me get a handle on this Andrea Quinn 2/27/2017 1:35 AM
Comment [17]: In HWR we talked about
in, I think, a pretty clear way. We think of our self as this thing known only to us everything implying its own opposite,
and as something separate from the rest of the world--all of that stuff we label right? Was that what we called "twoness?"
Andrew Kopp 2/27/2017 1:28 AM
other and out or over there. If were faced with something identical to our self, Comment [18]: It can be taken that way,
but something to which we dont have direct, intimate access, were faced with the sure, but it is called by many names,
which all can be boiled down to the ur-
possibility that maybe we dont actually know or have a self that belongs to us-- distinction called "similarity and
because we walk along as if we do have direct, intimate access with our self until Andrew Kopp 2/27/2017 1:35 AM
something challenges that assumption. In return--if something out there might have Comment [19]: But this particular angle
you are bringing up here is what Derrida
a grain of self in it, then my self might have a drop of other in it, too. And then explored in _Plato's Pharmacy_: the
I have to admit that Im not the center of the universe, that other people take up Pharmakon (medicine/poison), but also
the pharmakos: that which we try to expel
to be healthy.

space in the world in the same way I do, that I dont truly know anything. Which was
basically my whole thesis for the original paper that sparked my reasons for engaging
in this research in the first place. So Ive managed to write myself right back to the
beginning again.