Conference Proceeding

Citizen Hyde: Cosmopolitan Contradictions in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde



As the British empire slowly crumbled at the end of the nineteenth century, London was inundated with countless new residents, raising paranoia about crime that was presumed to originate with newcomers to the city who lived outside the presumed social mores of English gentlemen. Robert Louis Stevenson capitalized on this atmosphere to craft a notorious literary scoundrel for the city, the titular figure(s) in The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. In this paper, I adapt Craig Morehead’s argument that Victorian “writers used cosmopolitan criminality to strengthen social cohesion and codify an idea of ‘Englishness,’ as well as to exaggerate and institutionalize the criminal threats of outsiders (broadly based on criminal identity),” in order to argue here that multiple and concurrent definitions of functional cosmopolitanism clash with Edward Hyde’s degenerate criminality, resulting in an unspoken but generative (if temporary) moral cosmopolitanism with a gothic flavor.

Keywords: gothic, cosmopolitan, criminals, moral cosmopolitanism

How to Cite: Shaughnessy, K. (2021) “Citizen Hyde: Cosmopolitan Contradictions in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde”, Iowa Journal of Cultural Studies. 21(1). doi: