Law and Conversation

November 20, 2014

Law and Horror: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

Filed under: Books and writing — Helen Gunnarsson @ 11:03 pm

Halloween week seemed like a good time to reread some 19th century horror fiction, so I downloaded the free e-book for Robert Louis Stevenson’s “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.” To my surprise, I found a number of interesting legal issues in the text, starting at the very beginning, when a horrible man who turns out to be Mr. Hyde tramples a little girl.

The legal areas involved in that event and others as the story unfolds include personal injury torts, settlements, extortion, evidence, estates, and legal ethics, including the lawyer-client relationship, advice to clients, confidentiality, and misconduct. What I found most fascinating was thinking about how the attitudes of the legal profession and the public in the 21st century U.S. contrast with those of 19th century England on actions relating to these points.

If it’s been a while since you’ve read “Dr. Jekyll,” or if you’ve never read it at all, this would be a great time to do so. It’s not very long, so you can finish it in just a few hours. While you’re reading and reviewing, I’ll be working on another post expanding and detailing the story points that involve these legal issues. See you back here soon!

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