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The Double in the Fiction of R. L. Stevenson, Wilkie Collins and Daphne du Maurier

Nathalie Abi-Ezzi

Robert Louis Stevenson, Wilkie Collins and Daphne du Maurier are authors of particular importance to the literature of the double, having produced, among other works, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, The Woman in White and Rebecca. Each also rejected the prevailing social order of his or her time, a factor that plays an important role in determining how the double is represented and treated.
The literary theory of romance narrative structure follows the hero’s journey through a dark ‘descent’ to a happier ‘ascent’, but this journey is shown to apply to a largely masculine identity. On the other hand, the rise of the female persona and her relation to the double is a progression that is clearly charted through the works of Stevenson, Collins and du Maurier. It shows an extraordinary alteration in the structure of traditional romance narrative, and leads to an exploration of new ways in which the imprisoned female character may be able to free herself and become whole.
Contents: Literature of the double – R. L. Stevenson, Wilkie Collins, Daphne du Maurier – Northrop Frye: themes of descent, themes of ascent – The imprisoned female character – The double in Greek mythology – The hero and sibling relations in the Old Testament – Gothic literature.