The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

In his essay "A Chapter on Dreams," Robert Louis Stevenson revealed that certain of the scenes of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1886) and plot elements of much of his other fiction came to him in dreams. He amusingly referred to his "Brownies," the "little people" in his unconscious who had engaged in businesslike literary collaboration with him and were welcome successors to the "night-hag" who sent him frightening dreams when he was a child. Stevenson dreamed of Jekyll and Hyde in Bournemouth, England, while his body was racked with a fever following a lung hemorrhage and the delirium of his sleep's visions was possibly heightened by the drugs that his doctor had prescribed. Stevenson appears to have dreamed the idea of Jekyll and Hyde in great detail and clarity, and even attributed to his Brownies the invention of the powders that induced Dr. Jekyll's personality changes. He cried out in horror during his sleep, causing his wife, Fanny, to rouse him, "much to his indignation." He told her that he "was dreaming a fine bogey tale" and gave her a rapid sketch of Jekyll and Hyde up to the point when she had awakened him. At daybreak he passionately set to work on the story. He closeted himself in his sickroom for three days and then emerged with a completed thirty-thousand-word manuscript, which he read aloud to his wife and his stepson, Lloyd Osbourne.

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