Robert Louis Stevenson
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The famous novel, “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde”, by Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894) was, in the author’s words, “conceived, written, re-written, re-re-written, and printed inside ten weeks”. However, it is the conceiving of the novel that is of most interest because Stevenson said it came from a dream...
"For two days I went about racking my brains for a plot of any sort; and on the second night I dreamed the scene at the window, and a scene afterward split in two, in which Hyde, pursued for some crime, took the powder and underwent the change in the presence of his pursuers."
Stevenson’s wife told how one night she woke her husband up and he vehemently protested, "Why did you waken me? I was dreaming a fine bogy-tale!" She also related how he appeared the next morning excitedly exclaiming, "I have got my schilling-shocker -- I have got my schilling-shocker!"
Stevenson never wavered from his belief that his passion for writing often interacted with his subconscious during sleep. He at one point commented that from an early age, his dreams were so vivid and moving that they were more entertaining to him personally than any literature. Even very early in his life, he had learnt that he could dream complete stories and that at times he could go back to the same dreams on succeeding nights to give them a different ending. Later he trained himself to remember his dreams and to dream plots for his books.
Stevenson described dreams as occurring in ,i>"that small theatre of the brain which we keep brightly lighted all night long."
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