Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Daniel Levine

Daniel Levine studied English Literature and Creative Writing at Brown University and received his MFA in Fiction Writing from the University of Florida. He has taught composition and creative writing at high schools and universities, including the University of Florida, Montclair State University, and Metropolitan State College of Denver. Originally from New Jersey, he now lives in Colorado.

From Levine's Q & A with, The Strand Magazine's blog, about his new novel, Hyde:

TSM: Have you always been a fan of Stevenson?

DL: I didn’t truly come to appreciate Stevenson until I started researching Hyde. I had read Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in high school, and the story clearly pressed its imprint into my fifteen-year-old mind. But other than Kidnapped and a few short stories, I didn’t read much of Stevenson in the years leading up to Hyde. Even when researching my novel, I certainly didn’t read everything of Stevenson; there are still many works of his I haven’t opened. But I have read a good deal of his personal essays and travelogues, and I read Claire Harman’s fabulous biography, Myself and the Other Fellow, which truly brought the man to life for me. He was an incredibly sympathetic person, and I feel that we shared an affinity of nature—a passionate spirit, a distaste for overly traditional society, a yearning for achievement and recognition, a certain tendency toward self-indulgence, and a restless wanderlust. Stevenson was exceedingly prolific (my impression is that he wrote a few clunkers along with his masterpieces), and more than the great body of his work, I came to love the easy flow of his sentences, his light, elegant style. It’s been said that he was the least-Victorian Victorian, that his early death sealed him into the Victorian age and thus that’s how he is categorized. But he was quite modern in his voice and grace, and every line he writes—even, or especially, in his letters—is infused with his charming, self-aware, slightly rascally soul. I have a deep affection for him that goes beyond his authorship.

In fact, I’ll admit to having entertained the whimsical notion that Stevenson was somehow guiding me through the composition of Hyde. For instance—I read Claire Harman’s biography twice: once in New Jersey at the very beginning of my research when the idea was extremely nascent, and once, three years later, in Colorado after I had finished the novel and was waiting for responses from the publishers. Reading the biography this second time was strangely reassuring. I would have these uncanny déjà vu moments where I’d realize that I had used in my book, or been influenced by, some subtle aspect of Stevenson’s life, without having...[read on]
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The Page 69 Test: Hyde.

My Book, The Movie: Hyde.

--Marshal Zeringue