Two versions of death: The transformation of the literary corpse in Kafka and Stevenson

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Abstract
This essay makes the claim for Robert Louis Stevenson being a precursor of Franz Kafka in order to offer a new reading of Stevenson`s 1886 `shilling shocker`, Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Drawing on a well known letter Kafka wrote to Max Brod in 1922 about the writer`s relation to his own death and an important entry from Stevenson`s notebooks on the same subject, it argues that Jekyll`s transformation into Hyde represents not the splitting of his (moral) personality but rather the paradoxical appearance of his death. In presenting death as a paradoxical form of transformation, Jekyll and Hyde can be read as the allegorical foreshadowing of Stevenson`s own death by stroke on Samoa in 1894. When read in conjunction with Kafka`s Metamorphosis, it also demands that we reconsider the theoretically vexing relation of literature to the body.
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Danta, English
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2006
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Journal Article
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