Journal of Romance studies

From psychopathology to diabolical evil: Dr Jekyll, Mr Hyde and Jean Renoir

Journal of Romance studies (2012), 12, (1), 10–23.

Abstract

Robert Louis Stevenson’s Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde can be regarded as a reflection on the nature of evil seen through the lens of late-nineteenth-century medical discourse. When Jean Renoir made his film version of Stevenson’s story under the title Le Testament du docteur Cordelier (1959), the context had changed radically. After the traumas of European Fascism and the Second World War, Renoir’s film re-fashions the story of Jekyll and Hyde for a post-Holocaust audience. It eschews psychopathology and explains evil as the free choice of a rational subject who is disturbingly in tune with the contemporary world.

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Author details

Davis, Colin