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Updated Up To 18/01/2017
Volume 11, Issue 2 (June 2013) : 187-217
Recycling of Doubles in Narrative Fiction of the Twentieth and Twenty-First Centuries

Amit Marcus
Rubric A: Topoi
Rubric B: Then and Now



Doppelgänger narratives of the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries relate in different and sometimes incompatible ways to their Romantic precursors. They often parody these precursor narratives, criticize their popular interpretations, or tinker with their conventions. Some of them follow the Romantic tradition in highlighting the harsh rivalry between “original” and double and its catastrophic results, whereas in others the double acts as a catalyst for self-reflection and self-transformation. Doppelgänger narratives of the last decades tend to focus on the intersection of the psychological with the scientific or the aesthetic domains, while the significance of the supernatural principle is reduced, eliminated, or replaced by implausible coincidences and analogical relations typical of (post)modern fiction. In order to demonstrate these ideas, the article begins with an analysis of E. T. A. Hoffmann's The Devil’s Elixir (1815–1816) and continues with an exploration of five types of later Doppelgänger narratives.

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