Wednesday, January 6, 2010

What I'm Getting Ready to Read--and Why

I'm teaching an Honors class this Spring called Human Situations I, which examines how the arts explore and attempt to answer the Great Questions. One of the units I'll be doing, of course, is the question of Good and Evil. This is not a literature class, but literature will be a part of every unit, and the obvious choice for this unit is Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. However, I didn't want to revisit a classic most of these students have probably already read in AP English. So I chose this novel, a re-telling of that classic from another point of view. That'll bring J&H into the discussion and also let us wrestle with postmodern ideas of multiple points of view. This retelling will also illustrate that authors keep asking and attempting to answer the Great Questions.

I'm really looking forward to this class.

From the acclaimed author of the bestselling Italian Fever comes a fresh twist on the classic Jekyll and Hyde story, a novel told from the perspective of Mary Reilly, Dr. Jekyll's dutiful and intelligent housemaid.

Faithfully weaving in details from Robert Louis Stevenson's classic, Martin introduces an original and captivating character: Mary is a survivor, scarred but still strong, familiar with evil, yet brimming with devotion and love. As a bond grows between Mary and her tortured employer, she is sent on errands to unsavory districts of London and entrusted with secrets she would rather not know. Unable to confront her hideous suspicions about Dr. Jekyll, Mary ultimately proves the lengths to which she'll go to protect him. Through her astute reflections, we hear the rest of the classic Jekyll and Hyde story, and this familiar tale is made more terrifying than we remember it, more complex than we imagined possible.

1 comment:

Jonathan G. Reinhardt said...

One of my grad classes was titled simply “Evil.” It’s a fascinating topic, really, with such depths. I’d love to know what other texts you bring to the discussion.