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Doppelgänger

 

Doppelgänger

Dante Gabriel Rossetti, How They Met Themselves, watercolor, 1864

In fiction and folklore, a doppelgänger or doppelga(e)nger ( or ; German: , literally "double-goer") is a look-alike or double of a living person, sometimes portrayed as a paranormal phenomenon, and in some traditions as a harbinger of bad luck. In other traditions and stories, they recognize your 'double-goer' as an evil twin.

The word doppelgänger is often used in a more general sense to describe any person who physically or behaviorally resembles another person.

Contents

  • Spelling 1
  • Mythology 2
  • Fiction 3
    • Literature 3.1
    • Television 3.2
  • Famous accounts 4
    • John Donne 4.1
    • Percy Bysshe Shelley 4.2
    • Johann Wolfgang von Goethe 4.3
    • George Tryon 4.4
  • Psychiatry 5
  • See also 6
  • References 7
  • Further reading 8
  • External links 9

Spelling

The word doppelgänger is a loanword from German Doppelgänger, consisting of the two substantives Doppel (double) Gänger (walker or goer).[1][2] The singular and plural form are the same in German, but English usually prefers the plural "doppelgängers." It was first used by Jean Paul in the novel Siebenkäs (1796), and his newly coined word is explained by a footnote.

As is true for all other common nouns in German, the word is written with an initial capital letter. In English, the word is conventionally uncapitalized (doppelgänger). It is also common to drop the diacritic umlaut, writing "doppelganger."

Mythology

The application by English-speakers of this German word to the paranormal concept is relatively recent; Francis Grose's Provincial Glossary of 1787 included the term fetch instead, defined as the "apparition of a person living." A best-selling book on paranormal phenomena, Catherine Crowe's The Night-Side of Nature (1848), helped make the German word well-known. However the concept itself, of alter egos and double spirits, has appeared in the folklore, myths, religious concepts, and traditions of many cultures throughout human history.[3]

In Ancient Egyptian mythology, a ka was a tangible "spirit double" having the same memories and feelings as the person to whom the counterpart belongs. In one Egyptian myth entitled, The Greek Princess, an Egyptian view of the Trojan War, a ka of Helen was used to mislead Paris of Troy, helping to stop the war.

In Norse mythology, a vardøger is a ghostly double who precedes a living person and is seen performing their actions in advance. In Finnish mythology, this is called having an etiäinen, i.e., "a firstcomer".

In Breton mythology as well as in Cornish and Norman French folklore, the doppelgänger is a version of the Ankou, a personification of death.

Fiction

Literature

In

  • Grimm's Saga No. 260 in which a Doppelgaenger appears as Married Woman
  • Text at Barbleby.comPrometheus Unbound:

External links

  • Brugger, P; Regard, M; Landis, T. (1996). Unilaterally Felt ‘‘Presences’’: The Neuropsychiatry of One’s Invisible Doppelgänger. Neuropsychiatry, Neuropsychology, and Behavioral Neurology 9: 114-122.
  • Keppler, C. F. (1972). The Literature of the Second Self. University of Arizona Press.
  • Maack, L. H; Mullen, P. E. (1983). The Doppelgänger, Disintegration and Death: A Case Report. Psychological Medicine 13: 651-654.
  • Miller, K. (1985). Doubles: Studies in Literary History. Oxford University Press.
  • Otto, R. (1971, originally published in German, Der Doppelgänger, 1914). The Double: A Psychoanalytic Study. The University of North Carolina Press.
  • Reed, G. F. (1987). Doppelgänger. In Gregory R. L. The Oxford Companion to the Mind. Oxford University Press. pp. 200–201.
  • Todd, J; Dewhurst, K. (1962). The Significance of the Doppelgänger (Hallucinatory Double) in Folklore and Neuropsychiatry. Practitioner 188: 377-382.
  • Todd, J; Dewhurst, K. (1955). The Double: Its Psycho-Pathology and Psycho-Physiology. Journal of Nervous and Mental Diseases 122: 47-55.

Further reading

  1. ^ New Oxford American Dictionary, 2nd Edition, 2005.
  2. ^ Doppelgänger; Orthography, Meaning Synonyms http://www.duden.de.
  3. ^ Leonard Zusne, Warren H. Jones (1989). Anomalistic Psychology: A Study of Magical Thinking. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. p. 121. ISBN 978-0-805-80507-9.
  4. ^
  5. ^ Charles Williams. (1939). Descent into Hell. Faber and Faber.
  6. ^ , April 30, 2015. (Video)TV GuideLiz Raftery - "Who Did the Best Hillary Clinton Impression on SNL?", Retrieved 2015-08-15
  7. ^ Walton, Izaak. Life of Dr. John Donne. Fourth edition, 1675. Cited by Crowe in The Night-Side of Nature (1848).
  8. ^ Bald, R.C. John Donne: a Life. Oxford University Press, 1970.
  9. ^ Bennett, R.E. "Donne's Letters from the Continent in 1611-12." Philological Quarterly xix (1940), 66-78.
  10. ^ Betty T. Bennett. The Letters of Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, 1980. Volume 1, page 245.
  11. ^ Prometheus Unbound, lines 191-199.
  12. ^ The Autobiography of Wolfgang von Goethe. Translated by John Oxenford. Horizon Press, 1969. This example cited by Crowe in The Night-Side of Nature (1848).
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^ Brugger, P; Agosti, R; Regard, M; Wieser, H. G; Landis, T (1994). "Heautoscopy, epilepsy, and suicide". Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgergy and Psychiatry 57: 838-839.

References

See also

Heautoscopy is a term used in psychiatry and neurology for the reduplicative hallucination of "seeing one's own body at a distance".[14] It can occur as a symptom in schizophrenia[15] and epilepsy. Heautoscopy is considered a possible explanation for doppelgänger phenomena.[16]

Psychiatry

A famous Victorian apparition was the strange appearance of Eaton Square, London, looking straight ahead, without exchanging a word to anyone, in front of several guests at a party being given by his wife on 22 June 1893 whilst he was supposed to be in a ship of the Mediterranean Squadron, manoeuvering off the coast of Syria. Subsequently it was reported that he had gone down with his ship, HMS Victoria, that very same night, after it had collided with HMS Camperdown following an unexplained and bizarre order to turn the ship in the direction of the other vessel.[13]

George Tryon

This is an example of a doppelgänger which was perceived by the observer to be both benign and reassuring.

Amid all this pressure and confusion I could not forego seeing Frederica once more. Those were painful days, the memory of which has not remained with me. When I reached her my hand from my horse, the tears stood in her eyes; and I felt very uneasy. I now rode along the foot-path toward Drusenheim, and here one of the most singular forebodings took possession of me. I saw, not with the eyes of the body, but with those of the mind, my own figure coming toward me, on horseback, and on the same road, attired in a dress which I had never worn, — it was pike-gray [hecht-grau], with somewhat of gold. As soon as I shook myself out of this dream, the figure had entirely disappeared. It is strange, however, that, eight years afterward, I found myself on the very road, to pay one more visit to Frederica, in the dress of which I had dreamed, and which I wore, not from choice, but by accident. However, it may be with matters of this kind generally, this strange illusion in some measure calmed me at the moment of parting. The pain of quitting for ever noble Alsace, with all I had gained in it, was softened; and, having at last escaped the excitement of a farewell, I, on a peaceful and quiet journey, pretty well regained my self-possession.[12]

Near the end of Book XI of his autobiography, Dichtung und Wahrheit ("Poetry and Truth") (1811-1833), Goethe wrote, almost in passing:

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Percy Shelley's drama Prometheus Unbound (1820) contains the following passage in Act I: "Ere Babylon was dust, / The Magus Zoroaster, my dead child, / Met his own image walking in the garden. / That apparition, sole of men, he saw. / For know there are two worlds of life and death: / One that which thou beholdest; but the other / Is underneath the grave, where do inhabit / The shadows of all forms that think and live / Till death unite them and they part no more...."[11]

... talking it over the next morning he told me that he had had many visions lately — he had seen the figure of himself which met him as he walked on the terrace and said to him — "How long do you mean to be content" — No very terrific words & certainly not prophetic of what has occurred. But Shelley had often seen these figures when ill; but the strangest thing is that Mrs Williams saw him. Now Jane, though a woman of sensibility, has not much imagination & is not in the slightest degree nervous — neither in dreams or otherwise. She was standing one day, the day before I was taken ill, [June 15] at a window that looked on the Terrace with Trelawny — it was day — she saw as she thought Shelley pass by the window, as he often was then, without a coat or jacket — he passed again — now as he passed both times the same way — and as from the side towards which he went each time there was no way to get back except past the window again (except over a wall twenty feet from the ground) she was struck at seeing him pass twice thus & looked out & seeing him no more she cried — "Good God can Shelley have leapt from the wall?.... Where can he be gone?" Shelley, said Trelawny — "No Shelley has past — What do you mean?" Trelawny says that she trembled exceedingly when she heard this & it proved indeed that Shelley had never been on the terrace & was far off at the time she saw him.[10]

On July 8, 1822, the English poet Percy Bysshe Shelley drowned in the Bay of Spezia near Lerici in Italy. On August 15, while staying at Pisa, Percy's wife Mary Shelley, an author and editor, wrote a letter to Maria Gisborne in which she relayed Percy's claims to her that he had met his own doppelgänger. A week after Mary's nearly fatal miscarriage, in the early hours of June 23 Percy had had a nightmare about the house collapsing in a flood, and

Percy Bysshe Shelley

"is riddled with inaccuracies. He says that Donne crossed from London to Paris with the Drurys in twelve days, and that the vision occurred two days later; the servant sent to London to make inquiries found Mrs. Donne still confined to her bed in Drury House. Actually, of course, Donne did not arrive in Paris until more than three months after he left England, and his wife was not in London but in the Isle of Wight. The still-born child was buried on 24 January.... Yet as late as 14 April Donne in Paris was still ignorant of his wife's ordeal."[8] In January, Donne was still at Amiens. His letters do not support the story as given.[9]
published in 1675, and is attributed to "a Person of Honour... told with such circumstances, and such asseveration, that... I verily believe he that told it me, did himself believe it to be true. "At the time Donne was indeed extremely worried about his pregnant wife, and was going through severe illness himself. However, R. C. Bald points out that Walton's account Life of Dr. John DonneThis account first appears in the edition of
Two days after their arrival there, Mr. Donne was left alone, in that room in which Sir Robert, and he, and some other friends had dined together. To this place Sir Robert returned within half an hour; and, as he left, so he found Mr. Donne alone; but, in such ecstasy, and so altered as to his looks, as amazed Sir Robert to behold him in so much that he earnestly desired Mr. Donne to declare befallen him in the short time of his absence? to which, Mr. Donne was not able to make a present answer: but, after a long and perplext pause, did at last say, I have seen a dreadful Vision since I saw you: I have seen my dear wife pass twice by me through this room, with her hair hanging about her shoulders, and a dead child in her arms: this, I have seen since I saw you. To which, Sir Robert replied; Sure Sir, you have slept since I saw you; and, this is the result of some melancholy dream, which I desire you to forget, for you are now awake. To which Mr. Donnes reply was: I cannot be surer that I now live, then that I have not slept since I saw you: and am, as sure, that at her second appearing, she stopped, looked me in the face, and vanished.[7]

Izaak Walton claimed that John Donne, the English metaphysical poet, saw his wife's doppelgänger in 1612 in Paris, on the same night as the stillbirth of their daughter.

John Donne

Famous accounts

In some episodes, the critically acclaimed NBC sitcom Community also featured doppelgangers. In addition, the NBC mockumentary series, Parks and Recreation, had an episode titled Doppelgangers in which the main characters got to know people who had their same job in another town.

During the 2008-2009 season of the comedy show Saturday Night Live, while cast member Amy Poehler was playing Hillary Clinton, the real Hillary Clinton made an appearance on the show and faced off with Poehler as her doppelganger.[6]

Even though doppelgangers are commonly found in science fiction, some comedy shows have them too. In the CBS sitcom, How I Met Your Mother, all of the main characters have a doppelganger which they discover during the series.

In season 1 of The Twilight Zone, episode 21 Mirror Image, Vera Miles plays Millicent Barnes, who believes that a doppelganger is taking over her life.

Nina Dobrev played Elena Gilbert, Katherine Pierce's doppleganger, on The CW show The Vampire Diaries. A 500-plus-years-old evil Vampire Katherine Pierce meets an innocent teenager human Elena Gilbert, who turns her life to shambles. They are revealed to have another preceding doppleganger, Tatia, who would be 500 years older than Katherine and the true human that they are modeled after, Amara, who lived between 1st century B.C. and A.D. and fell in love with a man named Silas, who also has two known dopplegangers, Stefan, a Civil War era vampire turned by Katherine and a human named Tom, around Elena's age. The doppelganger's are the result of the creation of immortality by a witch and the use of that magic by Silas and Amara and their purpose is to live and die mortal lives to balance their immortal counterparts.

Fox's sci-fi series Fringe made extensive use of doppelganger story arcs when the existence of a parallel universe, in which all the main characters had a counterpart, was introduced.

The TV series Grimm features doppelganger in the episode "Good night sweet Grimm"

Television

, arguably its central expression of character. Gothic fiction is a doppelgänger tale. The doppelgänger motif is a staple of Books of Blood's story "Human Remains" in his Clive Barker [5] (1939), has character Pauline Anstruther seeing her own doppelgänger all through her life.Descent Into Hell Charles Williams [4]

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