Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde was initially sold as a paperback for one shilling in the UK, as noted above, and for one dollar in the U.S. These books were called "shilling shockers" or penny dreadfuls. The American publisher issued the book on 5 January 1886, four days before the first appearance of the UK edition issued by Longmans; Scribner's published 3000 copies, only 1250 of them bound in cloth. Initially, stores would not stock it until a review appeared in The Times, on 25 January 1886, giving it a favourable reception. Within the next six months, close to forty thousand copies were sold. As Stevenson's biographer, Graham Balfour, wrote in 1901, the book's success was probably due rather to the "moral instincts of the public" than to any conscious perception of the merits of its art. It was read by those who never read fiction and quoted in pulpit sermons and in religious papers. By 1901, it was estimated to have sold over 250,000 copies in the United States.
The stage version of Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, though it had initially been published as a "shilling shocker," was an immediate success and is one of Stevenson's best-selling works. Stage adaptations began in Boston and London and soon moved all across England and then towards his home country of Scotland.
The first stage adaptation followed the story's initial publication in 1886. Richard Mansfield bought the rights from Stevenson, and worked with Boston author Thomas Russell Sullivan to write a script. The resulting play added to the cast of characters, and adds some elements of romance to the plot. Addition of female characters to the originally male-centered plot has continued in later adaptations of the story. The first performance of the play took place in the Boston Museum in May 1887. The lighting effects and makeup for Jekyll's transformation into Hyde created horrified reactions from the audience, and the play was so successful that production followed in London. After a successful ten weeks in London in 1888, Mansfield was forced to close down production. The hysteria surrounding the Jack the Ripper serial murders led even those who only played murderers on stage to be considered suspects. When Mansfield was mentioned in London newspapers as a possible suspect for the crimes, he shut down production.