Introduction, or the Reflections of the Doppelgänger

Dimitris Vardoulakis

in The Doppelgänger

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print July 2010 | ISBN: 9780823232987
Published online March 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823235698 | DOI:

Series: Modern Language Initiative

Introduction, or the Reflections of the Doppelgänger

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This chapter introduces the concept of the Doppelgänger. It argues that the Doppelgänger is an operative or effective presence to the extent that it affects the undoing of the framing of the subject by the opposition between mere presence and absence. Such an operation indicates a function of relationality—the various relations that structure the subject's ontology. This relationality is what is called here the Doppelgänger. Debra Walker King summarizes the Doppelgänger as the collision between real bodies and an unfriendly informant: a fictional double whose aim is to mask individuality and mute the voice of personal agency. A first thesis of this book is that the resistance to presence indicates the Doppelgänger's ontology, bringing literature and philosophy into productive and mutually illuminating contact. While the second thesis of the book holds that the Doppelgänger is in a process of construction—its effective presence is transformative.

Keywords: Doppelgänger; relationality; effective presence; fictional double; construction

Chapter.  4203 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Language

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