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CMP102 - Composition 2 - Buscemi

Researching Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde

For your assignment, you are asked to make an argument about Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde within its larger Victorian context. To do this, you will look at the novella in terms of Victorian concerns regarding evolution, degeneration, class, and maintaining respectability.

In order to find sources on these topics in the Library's databases, you will have to come up with search terms that represent these ideas. When you search a library database for say, degeneration, the results you get are not about degeneration. Because of this, you will have to try more than one search using different keywords. I've included some possible keywords below that you can use while searching. 

Keep in mind that you will not always get the results you need. Be persistent and flexible. Keep trying and if you need help reach out to us at the Library.  Librarians are available to assist you online (Monday-Thursday 8:00am - 8:00pm and Friday 8:00am-4:00pm). You can contact me directly at

Evolution / Degeneration
Degeneration / degenerate Social corruption Hereditary / Hereditary taint
Benedict Morel Atavism / atavist Inheritance
Max Nordau Primitive / savage Scientific racism
Emile Zola Deviance / decline Devolution
Cesare Lombroso Retrogression Eugenics
Herbert Spencer Decay / deterioration Ethnicity
John Blumenbach Anthropometry Social Darwinism


Class / Maintaining Respectability
Good Evil / sinister Class
Civilized Degenerate / Deviant Social status
Moral Remorseless  Middle class / Bourgeoisie 
Respectable Barbaric / primitive / savage Elite / upper class
Trustworthy Vagrancy Working class / proletariat 
Sociable Criminal Poor / destitute / indigent 
  Vices / Self indulgent / Urges  

You can search thousands of journals, magazines, and newspapers for articles on your topic using the Library's databases. Each of the Library's databases indexes different sources letting you search using keywords. When searching the databases, you can type in your keywords and search the content of thousands of articles. The database will give you a list of articles that contain your keywords, and you can click on the title of the article to get more information. Most of the databases have a feature that allows you to email the article and the citation to yourself for your works cited page.

When searching the Library’s databases for resources on your topic, you want to choose your keywords carefully. These words will help you find the information you need quickly. Take a moment and think about your topic. Write down all the words and phrases you can think of. This Brainstorming will help you find and organize your information.

Victorian Culture, Science, & Society