Monday, November 26, 2007

R L Stevenson, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

Up and down, wide and narrow, love and hatred, are a few examples of the dualities we observe in physical nature as well as in human nature. From Heraclitus to Hegel to Derrida, philosophers have used these categories—dichotomies, contraries, antitheses; and from Structuralism onward, binary oppositions—as a way of knowing. Although thinkers like Hegel and Karl Marx attempted to shatter this established way of knowing with their thesis, antithesis, and synthesis, they did not get very far.

Robert Louis Stevenson in his novella The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde explores the duality of good and evil in us—human mortals

The writing is nervous and quirky, much apropos its theme; yet, exquisite. But what drew my attention, in this re-read, was Stevenson’s use of the “d” sound—throughout the book—to stir repulsion and revulsion.
Something displeasing, something down-right detestable. I never saw a man I so disliked, and yet, I scarce know why. He must be deformed somewhat.

And later he continues to pepper his prose with: dwarfish, disgust, troglodytic, decay, idol, diabolical, and divine. The author must have discovered that humans develop a visceral reaction to specific “d” sounds, but more than anything else to the odor of: danger, demise, demons, and death.

Masters of phonology channel the readers' emotions by the timely and precise use of specific sounds. Related sounds of disgust are "ch" words: Butch, bitch, scratch, croch, roach, and so on.

The writing techniques I employ in this article are all explained in Mary Duffy's indispensable writing manual:

Augustine, City of God
Austen J, Pride and Prejudice
Austen J, "Marriage Proposals and Me"
Austen J, Emma
Borges, The Aleph
C. Bronte, Jane Eyre
Burroughs E,Tarzan
Cervantes, Don Quijote
Chaucer, Wife of Bath
Coelho P,The Alchemist
Coyle H, They Are Soldiers
Dante, New Life
Dickens C, David Copperfield
Dostoevsky, Crime&Punishment
ConanDoyle,Hound of Baskervilles
Dubner S, Superfreakonomics

DuMaurier D, Rebecca
Ellis B. E. American Psycho
Fitzgerald S, Great Gatsby
Flaubert G, Madame Bovary
Fleming I,Doctor No
Freud S, Leonardo Da Vinci
Friedan B, Feminine Mystique
GarciaMarquez, Of Love & OtherDemons
Guerrero M,ThePoison Pill

Grass G, The Tin Drum
Harris T, Hannibal Rising
Heidegger M,House of Being
Ishiguro K, Remains of The Day
Johnson S,Rasselas
Kosinski J, The Painted Bird
Lee H,To Kill a Mockingbird
McBain Ed,Gutter and Grave
Murakami H,Wind-Up Bird Chronicle
Nabokov V, Lolita
Meyer, S, Twilight
Ortega,Dehumanization of Art
Poe E A, Gordon Pym
Prose F, Reading Like a Writer
Rushdie S,Midnight Children
Sabatini R, Scaramouche
Spark M, Prime of Miss Brodie

Stendhal, Red and Black
Sterne L,Tristram Shandy
Stevenson R, Dr.Jekyll & Mr.Hyde
Stoker B, Dracula
Thackeray W,History of Pendennis
Tolstoy L, Anna Karenina
Trollope A, Autobiography
Unamuno M, Tragic Sense of Life
Voltaire, Candide
Webb J, Fields of Fire
Wharton E, The House of Mirth
Woolf V, To The Lighhouse

The secrets of 'no-doze' prose:
Mary Duffy's Sentence Openers

Lindsey Vonn after winning the Downhill World ...
Image via Wikipedia

Lindsey Vonn

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