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Through the Looking Glass: What is a Doppelgänger?

  • 16/07/2024
  • 18:00-19:30
  • Online talk

Through the Looking Glass: What is a Doppelgänger?

A Folklore Society online talk by

Sophia Kingshill

Tues 16 July 2024, 18:00 BST

Identity is always fluid: in the digitally mediated spectrum, it can flow and alter in ways we are only beginning to examine. Online, any of us can create an avatar to perform on our behalf, but with the risks of misinterpretation and alienation.

The dread of being ‘possessed’ is ancient; more recent, perhaps, is the fear that the entity which possesses or takes us over may be self-created. While the concept of the double is old, the word ‘doppelgänger’ dates only from the eighteenth century. Originally, it meant the person who saw their double; later it became the double itself, a shift in meaning that flickers in and out of usage in folktale, literature and film.

There are authentic neurological conditions in which a person sees themselves as a physically separate presence. We are now all familiar with that phenomenon on-screen. How that affects our ‘own’ identity is a question to which folklore may be able to propose some tentative answers.

Sophia Kingshill is the author of Mermaids: Lusts and Legends of a Rebel Sisterhood and co-author of The Fabled Coast and The Lore of Scotland. She is Honorary Secretary of The Folklore Society.

Tickets £6.00 (£4.00 for Folklore Society members with Promo Code: log in to https://folklore-society.com/members-only to get the Promo Code): https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/through-the-looking-glass-what-is-a-doppelganger-tickets-927465533377?aff=erelexpmlt

Every ticket sold helps to support the work of The Folklore Society

Image: By John Tenniell, Through the Looking-Glass, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org