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Title: The doppelgänger in our time : the new faces of the double in contemporary literature and culture
Author: Soliman, Alia
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2019
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The premise of this dissertation is that the motif of the double in postmodern and contemporary narratives extends beyond psychomachia, or the struggle between vice against virtue over man's soul, as it arose in its primary form during the Gothic, Victorian, and Romantic periods. This study will investigate the reasons that make the doppelgänger a lingering motif that has experienced a literary and cultural renaissance in the second half of the 20th century and at the turn of the new century. Literary and visual artefacts employing the double express real and varied woes, both social and affective, and remain at the pulse of issues relevant to self-fashioning and notions of identity formation. Among these issues are ageing, the trauma of war, female selfdefinition, and the quest for singularity in modern times. The study will attempt to investigate the inexhaustibility and the continuing relevance of the theme of the double in various artistic media. Special focus will be given to two areas: the emergence of a bold female double, absent in classical and archetypal depictions of the figure; and the dissemination of doppelgänger imagery in contemporary visual and popular culture, extending to smart phone apps. My study examines an energised doppelgänger trope in literature through José Saramago's The Double (2002); in visual culture through Cornelia Hediger's photographic series Doppelgänger (2004); in social media, and TV series such as Orphan Black (2013); and in cinematic adaptations such as Denis Villeneuve's Enemy (2013) among numerous other texts and trends. New manifestations of the double will be contrasted with the structural features of the classical double and their function. In the last analysis the study showcases the doppelgänger encounter in a positive light, where the meeting between self and double is not only revealing but carries redemptive value.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available