The Literary Insights of Sylvia Plath’s College Thesis

Kelly Coyne at The Atlantic:

As a senior at Smith College, in 1955, Plath submitted her thesis on the doppelgänger—the concept of finding a mirror image, or a look-alike, in another human. The notion carries sinister connotations: In a 2014 piece on doppelgängers for The Atlantic, Alissa Wilkinson noted that “encountering your match has long been considered a harbinger of death.” Novels that participate in the doppelgänger tradition tend to illustrate the deadly struggle between protagonist and double. Just think of the creature who becomes a threat to Victor Frankenstein in Mary Shelley’s novel, or the fluctuation between Robert Louis Stevenson’s refined Dr. Jekyll and the violent Mr. Hyde.

On a trip to Plath’s archives at Smith, I was able to read her thesis, in which Plath described the double as being made up of “the evil or repressed characteristics of its master.”

more here.

Like what you're reading? Don't keep it to yourself!
Share on Facebook
Tweet about this on Twitter
Share on Reddit
Share on LinkedIn
Email this to someone