Fw: Are you with me Dr. Jekyll? I'm ahead of you Mr. Hyde
----- Original Message -----
From: Aline & Alexander
To: Vladimir Nabokov Forum
Sent: Tuesday, December 03, 2002 3:59 PM
Subject: Are you with me Dr. Jekyll? I'm ahead of you Mr. Hyde
Robert Alter [Cycnos, 1993] gives a clear exposition of how authors [Nabokov in his essay] make use of aspects of their own personalities in creating fictive characters [in this case, in Pale Fire]. It's a long jump to finding multiple personalities in this and other texts, but only a short, easy deviation to superimpose this as yet poorly understood phenomenon upon unsuspecting readers. Stevenson appears to be confronting the horror experienced by an integrated [un-fragmented] personality in finding what bubbles up when this integration is self-challenged [drugs] or diminished [trauma, Traumvelt, tumor, tenure].
Parenthetically, multiple personality [like schizophrenia with which it is often incorrectly associated] was one of the subjects on which Sigmund Freud had few opinions.
Stevenson's story also endures as a landmark in the evolution of psychological fiction, anticipating the psychic conflicts of doubles or alternating personalities in such notable works as Dostoevsky's The Devils (1872), Conrad's "The Secret Sharer" (1912), and Nabokov's Pale Fire (1962). Written autotherapeutically in the aftermath of a nightmare, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde immediately popularized the concept of alternating personality years before Freud began publishing his first papers on psychoanalysis.