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Humanities 2018, 7(1), 13;

The Encounter with the Identical Other: The Literary Double as a Manifestation of Failure in Self-Constitution

Department of Humanities and Arts, Technion—Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa 3448306, Israel
Received: 28 September 2017 / Revised: 17 December 2017 / Accepted: 23 January 2018 / Published: 29 January 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Encounters Between Philosophy and Literature II)
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Literary pieces featuring the double depict an encounter between the protagonist and another person, who is her identical other. Therefore they face various difficulties related to a threat cast on their unique identity, and this encounter challenges their process of self-definition. Martin Buber sees the existence of the other as essential for the occurrence of self-constitution within an individual. He maintains that any person needs another person to obtain confirmation of what she is and is born equipped with the ability to confirm her fellow-person in the same way (1959). However, as the other encountered by a doppelgänger protagonist is not truly “other”, the latter might confront a difficulty in the different stages of Buber’s self-constitution process. This paper seeks to shed light on the inter- and intra-personal relationships depicted in literary pieces focusing on the theme of the double, such as The Double (Dostoyevsky [1846] 1997; Saramago 2002), Despair (1965), and Too Much Nina (Orbach 2011), emphasizing the limitations cast by the encounter with the identical other on the protagonist’s self-constitution, as put forward by Buber. View Full-Text
Keywords: self-constitution; doppelgänger; double; Buber; other; I-thou; genuine dialogue self-constitution; doppelgänger; double; Buber; other; I-thou; genuine dialogue
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Tal, M. The Encounter with the Identical Other: The Literary Double as a Manifestation of Failure in Self-Constitution. Humanities 2018, 7, 13.

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