The Hanging of Jekyll and Hyde

October 1, 1788. William Brodie mounts the gallows outside Edinburgh’s jail. Just a few years before, as a respected member of the town council, he’d helped redesign those gallows. Now he stands upon them as a convicted criminal sentenced to be hanged, in front of 40,000 spectators. Brodie appears surprisingly and resolutely calm. But maybe somewhere deep inside is another William Brodie, panicked and full of regret. Who really was this respectable cabinetmaker by day and thief by night? And how did he inspire his fellow Scotsman, Robert Louis Stevenson, to write the famous story, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde?

Special thanks to our guests, professors Stephen Brown and Owen Dudley Edwards. Brown’s lecture on the 250th anniversary of the Encyclopedia Britannica is available on the National Library of Scotland's website. Edwards’ latest book is called Our Nations and Nationalisms.

Correction: Professor Brown referred to Judge Braxton in Brodie's trial. The judge's name was Lord Braxfield.

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