Doubles

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Dear Reader,

 

I would like to compile a list of books/stories about doubles, and I would love your help with that list. As incentive, I would like to give away two copies of Adam McOmber’s novel, The White Forest, which is, yes, about doubles (well, partly, anyway). I have an extra copy of the hardcover and an extra copy of the paperback galley, and I’d like to send them each to a randomly chosen commenter, someone who will help me with my list.

Here’s what I have so far (and yes, I realize I’m leaving many things off; I want you to win, you see):

“William Wilson,” Poe.
The Devil’s Elixirs and “The Doubles,” ETA Hoffmann
“The Double,” Dostoyevsky
“Love and Mr. Lewisham,” H. G. Wells
The Picture of Dorian Gray, Wilde.
“At the End of the Passage,” Kipling.
“The Horla” and “Peter and John” Guy de Maupassant.

whiteforest

So, again, just comment below, adding to the list, and I’ll pick two winners in a week or so, when the list has grown a bit.

Many thanks,

-Gabriel

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32 thoughts on “Doubles

  1. - Borges and I
    – Tom McCarthy’s Remainder
    – several Dennis Cooper novels (Marbled Swarm and Period jump to mind, but they’re all chock-full)
    – Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep – P K Dick (I’m sure PKD uses doubling in more places than here)
    – Delillo’s Body Artist (strange man appearing as a doppelganger for the artists dead husband)
    – Distant Star, Bolaño (the mystery narrative that ends the novel)
    – Shatterday, Harlan Ellison (a favorite from when I was in high school)
    – Erasers, Robbe-Grillet
    – Solaris, Stanislaw Lem (the novel, though there are so many great examples from film! Żuławski’s Possession and Gozu!)

    • Great list, Scott. Thanks! (And, yes, PKD’s interest in identity means that there are a number of doubles in his work; Palmer Eldritch also immediately comes to mind.)

      Film can’t seem to help being about doubles, huh? I’ve only seen a (pretty ugly) VHS rip of Possession, but my wife made me a present of the Korean DVD, and I look forward to seeing it again. How is it that it hasn’t been officially released here yet?

      • You’re right, there’s not a US release of it I can find anywhere. I now wonder how the hell I ever watched a DVD version of it…
        If you haven’t seen it, Tom McCarthy co-wrote a film called Double Take, drawn party from Borges and I, that’s fantastic, and all about doubling.

  2. - Borges and I
    – Tom McCarthy’s Remainder
    – several Dennis Cooper novels (Marbled Swarm and Period jump to mind, but they’re all chock-full)
    – Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep – P K Dick (I’m sure PKD uses doubling in more places than here)
    – Delillo’s Body Artist (strange man appearing as a doppelganger for the artists dead husband)
    – Distant Star, Bolaño (the mystery narrative that ends the novel)
    – Shatterday, Harlan Ellison (a favorite from when I was in high school)
    – Erasers, Robbe-Grillet
    – Solaris, Stanislaw Lem (the novel, though there are so many great examples from film! Żuławski’s Possession and Gozu!)

  3. Marie Redonnet’s Nevermore has tons of doubling.
    Coraline by Neil Gaiman.
    Sshhhh! by Jason
    Synechdoche, New York

  4. Also, Lutz Bassman’s We Monks & Soldiers.
    If your find quadrupling permissible (divisible by two), Martone’s Four for a Quarter.

  5. Clarence Major – My Amputations
    R.L. Stevenson – Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
    Blake Butler – There Is No Year

    Also, Gordon Slethaug wrote a critical examination of the double in works of experimental literature called The Play of the Double.

    Also, Dimitris Vardoulakis wrote a critical study called The Doppelgänger: Literature’s Philosophy.

    In Twin Peaks, the Black Lodge houses the doubles.

    In How I Met Your Mother, each of the main characters have a double.

    Many of the characters on Star Trek: The Next Generation have doubles, including Riker and Data, who tend to be evil-twins.

    Harold Ramis’s Multiplicity.

    Obviously, Vertigo.

    Single White Female.

    Wow, there’s a lot of doubles out there, the more I think about it.

  6. The Other, by Borges

    Pale Fire, by Nabokov (not a for-sure double, but could be interpreted that way)

    The Castle, by Kafka (I always assume the two assistants are identical twins.)

    Orlando, by Woolf (does a man who becomes a woman count as a story of a double?)

  7. Robert Aickman – Niemandswasser
    Annette von Droste-Hülshoff – The Jew’s Beech
    Michel Tournier – Gemini
    Jean Paul – Flegeljahre (The Awkward Age)
    Tayeb Salih – Season of Migration to the North
    Charles Williams – Descent into Hell
    Agota Kristof – The Notebook, The Proof, The Third Lie: Three Novels
    Patrick White – The Solid Mandala

  8. No one’s mentioned Shirley Jackson’s “The Beautiful Stranger” yet, but doppelgangers are definitely implied.

    Also if we’re counting movies/TV there’s Fringe. Doubles from the other universe cross over and impersonate/interact with their others.

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