The Real Life Inspirations for ‘The Strange Case of Doctor Jekyll and Mister Hyde’

In a recent episode of the fascinating fact-finding series Today I Found Out, host Simon Whistler explains how the idea of The Strange Case of Doctor Jekyll and Mister Hyde came to author Robert Louis Stevenson, the condition he was in when it came to him and the real life inspirations who fleshed out the characters in the story.

Stevenson woke up from the dream with two or three scenes already sketched out, including the first transformation scene, which is where he was in the story when Fanny woke him up. Inspired, he also relied on accounts of the lives of historical and contemporary people to flesh out his tale. The model for the admired, professional and proper Dr. Jekyll was William Brodie, the infamous city councilor turned burglar of Stevenson’s hometown of Edinburgh, Scotland. Brodie was a respectable Deacon of a cabinet making guild, a member of a prestigious social club and even had a seat on the town council before his downfall. …Another influence for Stevenson was Louis Vivet, one of the first people diagnosed with multiple personality disorder in the mid-1880s.