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The Double in Modern Dutch Prose

This article is a survey of different types of doubles (or Doppelgängers) in Dutch-language literature of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. First, the text explores techniques of narration and focalisation employed to evoke doubles, and demonstrates how readers can be misled in the process. Subsequently, it discusses various phenomena such as shadows, mirror images, alter egos, twins, schizoid characters, etc., organized according to their representation. A distinction is made between external merging (two autonomous characters forming a dyad), external multiplication (one autonomous character being mirrored) and internal fragmentation (one character consisting of several sub-personae). Finally, the article investigates the extent to which the defining characteristics of these doubles manifest themselves in the cited literary texts.

All characteristics are assembled in an orderly table. The structure of rows and columns enables a swift classification of different types of doubles, and allows for an easy visualisation of the changes in their representation and behaviour.

The article contains quotations from texts by Huub Beurskens, Ferdinand Bordewijk, Jeroen Brouwers, Herman Franke, W.F. Hermans, Atte Jongstra, Frans Kellendonk, Willem G. van Maanen, Harry Mulisch, Cees Nooteboom, Simon Vestdijk, L.H. Wiener, Leon de Winter, and Paul de Wispelaere.
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Keywords: alter egos; fragmentation; mirror images; multiplication; shadows

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Gwennie Debergh (1975) promoveerde in 2006 op een proefschrift over Het verdriet van Belgi√ę. Ze doceert Nederlandse literatuur aan de Vrije Universiteit Brussel en studeert Toegepaste informatica aan de Hogeschool Gent.

Publication date: January 15, 2015

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  • Het tijdschrift Nederlandse Letterkunde is een wetenschappelijk, peer-reviewed tijdschrift voor de Nederlandstalige letterkunde. Het tijdschrift is een podium voor vakbeoefening in al haar vormen en facetten. De diverse bijdragen beslaan in hun totaliteit het gehele spectrum van Nederlandstalige letterkunde van de Middeleeuwen tot heden. Een jaargang Nederlandse Letterkunde telt drie afleveringen waarvan er steeds één aan een actueel thema gewijd wordt.

    The Dutch-language journal Nederlandse Letterkunde (Dutch Literature) is an academic peer-reviewed journal for Dutch literature. The various contributions cover the entire spectrum of Dutch literature from the Middle Ages to the present. Nederlandse Letterkunde publishes three issues a year of which one is devoted to a contemporary topic.
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