My Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde Audio Book is now published: free copies available, read more here!

3 November 2020

I am delighted that my new audiobook Analysis & Study Guide: Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde: Complete text & integrated study guide (Creative Study Guide Editions) is now available here on Audible, Amazon and ITunes.

The best audio version of the novel there is!

I firmly believe that actor and voice artist Richard J. Bunn has delivered the best reading of the novel that is currently available on audio. I think this is because he worked so intensely on my study guide — well I would say that, wouldn’t I?! But seriously, of all the readers of the novel, he has really ‘got’ it. This comes through in his reading. He and I worked hard on thinking about how the different characters and narrative voices might be represented. If you listen to his reading, you’ll see that he’s given every major character a distinctive quality.

Let’s start with the ‘detective’ of the novel, Gabriel Utterson. Dr Jekyll’s dusty, reliable, steadfast friend is actually the engine of the first section of the narrative; he is the sleuth who discovers and finally uncovers the mystery behind Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. Who are they? How are they connected?

Richard reads Utterson brilliantly; as a slightly nerdy, inquisitive but humane man who is torn between being loyal to his friend and his morals.

The other major character – aside from the eponymous protagonists of the title – is Dr Lanyon. Once again, Richard really ‘gets’ Lanyon; his reading conveys the self-satisfied, technically minded man whose confidence and life is absolutely shattered when he discovered the truth about his friend. Richard reads Lanyon’s narrative – probably the most important part of the book — with great aplomb; it’s a pacey, energetic and, ultimately, a terrifying reading.

But most importantly Richard really understands Dr Jekyll/Mr Hyde. We talked about this as he worked through the book. He commented to me that the great realisation was that Hyde is not the complete opposite of Dr Jekyll but his inner self; his dark, repressed side. As a result, Richard manages at certain points to give Hyde some of Jekyll’s inflections in a chilling way. Above all, he provides Hyde with such a rasping, sinister, whispery voice; it’s really creepy. Jekyll’s voice is suitably refined and, like Lanyon, slightly smug at times.

The more boring bits actually become interesting, even for the teenage reader!

Richard manages in the most difficult section of the book to read ‘Henry Jekyll’s Full Statement of the Case’ with a zest and power which means that some of the more boring bits actually become interesting, even for the teenage reader! The final pages of the ‘Statement’ are moving and pathetic, and you get a real sense of the terrible wrenching dialogue that is happening in Jekyll’s head and body as Hyde begins to dominate him, to take over, to completely subsume this once brilliant and civilised man. Richard actually makes you feel sorry for the Jekyll/Hyde monster in this bit! It’s possibly the most disturbing section of his reading.

Richard had a very tricky job – as I have said in a previous blog – because he had numerous other things to do as he read the Study Guide. Namely he had to read all of my ‘teacher sections’ where I explain the novel, which actually account for more words than the actual story! So, the opening bit of the guide is jam packed with lots of fascinating and useful information for any student preparing for coursework or an exam on the text. I cover pretty much everything: contexts of reading and writing (I explain what these are in the text), structure, genre, use of language and imagery, themes and so on. Richard puts on a lovely, friendly, warm teacher voice and reads these sections with admirable clarity and diction. When it comes to Stevenson’s prose, Richard had an even more difficult occupation because the reading of the novel is intercut with meanings of words, explanations, analysis, questions and questions with answers. Devilishly difficult to read! But he does it! He keeps up the pace; I really think that what he’s done could be used by any teacher in any class teaching the novel.

I really think that what he’s done could be used by any teacher in any class teaching the novel.

Personally, I think this audio book could be a beautiful present for many teachers because you could use it in the classroom as both a teacher guide and the best reading of the novel there is. Teachers could play the relevant section of the guide, and this would then free them up to assess how students are engaging with the novel. A great behaviour management tool!

Free audio copies!

Please email me if you’d like to review the book and, as a result, receive a free audio review copy of it. There are only a limited number of free copies so they will be issued based on your willingness to offer a review (if only a brief one) and on a first come, first served basis. sir@francisgilbert.co.uk

You can listen to a taster of the guide here:

Buy Francis Gilbert’s Analysis & Study Guide: Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde: Complete text & integrated study guide (Creative Study Guide Editions), read by Richard J. Bunn, on Audible, Amazon and ITunes.

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