The Doppelganger: Literature's Philosophy (modern Language Initiative)

The Doppelganger: Literature's Philosophy (modern Language Initiative)
by Dimitris Vardoulakis / / / PDF


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The Doppelgnger or Double presents literature as the doubleof philosophy. There are historical reasons for this. The genesis of the Doppelgnger is literature's response to the philosophical focus on subjectivity. The Doppelgnger was coined by the German author Jean Paul in 1796 as a critique of Idealism's assertion of subjective autonomy, individuality and human agency. This critique prefigures post-War extrapolations of the subject as decentred. From this perspective, the Doppelgnger has a family resemblanceto current conceptualizations of subjectivity. It becomes the emblematic subject of modernity. This is the first significant study on the Doppelgnger's influence on philosophical thought. The Doppelgnger emerges as a hidden and unexplored element both in conceptions of subjectivity and in philosophy's relation to literature. Vardoulakis demonstrates this by employing the Doppelgnger to read literature philosophically and to read philosophy as literature. The Doppelgnger then appears instrumental in the self-conception of both literature and philosophy.

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