Jekyll-Hyde Cover Talk: A Classics Challenge April Prompt

Having missed the March prompt for November’s Autumn’s A Classics Challenge, right now I’m excited about the April prompt which is focusing on the book cover.

I just finished reading Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, the translated version into my native language, Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian language).

This is the cover of the translated version:

And here are the questions:

What are your first impressions as you look at the cover? Does the book cover have an aspect that reflects the character, setting, or plot of the novel? If you could have designed the book cover what would you have chosen?

My answers:

The dark aura of the book cover clearly states that this is a mystery novel. On the left side we can see a silhouette of a gentleman standing beside a door (or is it a wall?), while on the other side of the door, there lies a shadow of another man, someone smaller than the other, looking mysterious and evil by the way he hides himself behind the door (or wall), as if he’s waiting to sprung out. I think the cover reflects the story and the main characters quite good, and I like it. However, another way to show Jekyll-Hyde in a book cover, I think, would be to picture them as one (rather than two separate objects). And although I like the entirety of the translated version’s cover, I’m not really comfortable with the boundary between Jekyll and Hyde. Because in the story Jekyll and Hyde were not separated by a wall, but Hyde lives inside Jekyll and at some point breaks free and defeated Jekyll. If there was a boundary at all I think it would be a curtain, nothing too solid or thick. Anyway, the cover designer, Satya Utama Jadi, also designed covers for many other books, including the Indonesian version of Bram Stoker’s Dracula and Hector Malot’s Sans Famille (Nobody’s Boy).

This graphic novel cover did the job well:

I also did a little browsing on other editions’ covers, and with various degrees of creepiness (I call most of them creepy), they successfully convey the message about the essence of the book: mystery.


4 thoughts on “Jekyll-Hyde Cover Talk: A Classics Challenge April Prompt

  1. I thought I had an old penguin edition of this book but can’t seem to find it anywhere. It’s a great book though and I love the cover of your copy. Very atmospheric.


  2. I like the cover of the translated version you read. It appeals to me much more than the graphic cover–too over the top for my taste. I also like your analysis of the cover–how it does and doesn’t work.

    I still haven’t read this classic, though I am a fan of RLS.


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