The Pavilion on the Links


The Pavilion on the Links:

Robert Louis Stevenson’s lengthy short story The Pavilion on the Links, was considered by Arthur Conan-Doyle to be “the first short story in the world”. This unsettlingly nerve-wracking tale is every bit as chilling as its much wider known follower The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and at the time of its publication was every bit as successful Stevenson makes the choice in the story of having two fairly unpleasant characters for his main protagonists. Both deeply antipathetic to the rest of humankind, he is wickedly funny about the two men’s friendship which as the narrator himself confesses was “scarcely a companionship, but a coexistence of unsociability”. Armed with these delightfully awful heroes Stevenson embarks on a startlingly unpredictable foray into the hinterland of the Scottish landscape he knew so well. It was first published in 1880 in The Cornhill Magazine, and then a revised version appeared in the collection of tales published by Stevenson in 1882 entitled The New Arabian Nights which was seen by many to be the beginning of the literary genre that became the English short story.

Included in the download one of Stevenson’s most widely acclaimed short stories Markheim in which his preoccupation with things supernatural is allowed to roam over the guilty conscience of a murderer.

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The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde


The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde:

It was a nightmare from which he was furious to have been woken which triggered Robert Louis Stevenson’s most successful and famous work. Having been stirred from what he termed “a fine bogey tale” Stevenson set about putting his nightmare onto paper. It reputedly took him only three days to write but the story of a split personality, warring with itself between righteousness and immorality is as much a part of modern thought as it became in 1885. The story of the upright and moral Dr Jekyll and his horrific and uncontrollable other within has been seen as an allegory for the chronic duality of the Victorian Era with its insistence on outward respectability and its underbelly of vice and exploitation. History has it that the first draft of the novella was burnt by Stevenson in response to his wife’s criticisms, possibly about the explicitly sexual nature of the wild Mr Hyde’s nocturnal exploits, and the chilling vagueness of the final version’s descriptions of his pursuits adds to the Victorian nature of the story as much as to the horror of the man. But the story is much more than a representation of an age, the psychological clarity of Stevenson’s examination of human urges and desires as controlled, or not, by concepts of morality led to his establishment as a major literary figure. Teamed with the three other unexpected and wittily terrifying stories in this collection The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde is likely to send the listener into a short nightmare of their own – one however, we consider very fine indeed.

Included in the download is one of Stevenson's remarkable truly short stories A Lodging for the Night in which he plays with our sense of the predictable in a tale as well as finding another way of examining the good and the bad in each of us.

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