This essay examines the proliferation of visual representations of Robert Louis Stevenson‘s Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1886), considering the question of what links contemporary (Scottish?) Gothic to its problematic origins. After a survey of cinematic and graphic adaptations, the essay focuses on Steven Moffatt‘s Jekyll (BBC, 2007), which combines the post-Darwinian anxieties surrounding Stevensons tale of human regression with a much more contemporary interrogation of the ‘human’ against the backdrop of complex globalised scientific conspiracies. Significantly, the production draws on the Scottish origin of the text, re-proposing the question of (national) identity and authenticity against the threat of globalisation.
The collapse of reason and sanity in Alan Moore’s From Hell
This chapter proposes a reading of Alan Moore's retelling of the 1888 Whitechapel murders in relation to its treatment and representation of madness. The principal argument of this analysis is that in From Hell the Ripper murders embody the collapse of logos at the end of the nineteenth century. Thus they expose the rise of a problematic anxiety about modernity. In doing so, the nature and context of the crimes point to the uncanny pervasiveness of insanity within the city. As pathologies of the mind constitute a significant strand in Gothic literature from Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde to Rebecca, so the reason/madness opposition underpins Moore's complex retelling of the murders. From Hell engages with the shifting boundaries of madness and reason and exposes the precarious foundations of normative ideology supporting definitions of mental sanity on many levels.