On the face of it, it would be difficult to imagine three texts, short of overtly pornographic writing, which are less attractive to feminist theorists than Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1886), Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray (1890, 1891) and Conrad’s Heart of Darkness (1900). These fictions, all produced during the last fifteen years of the nineteenth century, give little obvious purchase to feminist readings. As Stephen Heath has written, quoting Henry James’s contemporary response to Stevenson’s novella, the episode in which Hyde tramples a little girl on the street ‘is one of the very few female references in a story that does … “without the aid of the ladies’” (Heath in Pykett 1996, 65).
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