Amit Marcus – Telling the Difference: Clones, Doubles and What’s in Between

Telling the Difference: Clones, Doubles and What’s in Between1)

Amit Marcus

Published in Connotations Vol. 21.2-3 (2011/12)

1. Introduction

A common opinion is that clones are a particular type of doubles, and that both clones and doubles are replicas, copies, or imitations of an original human being. For want of a better term, in the following pages I refer to a primary human being (or the fictional analogue of such a human being—a character) as the original. This public opinion is reinforced by scholarly works that employ these terms interchangeably. A case in point is Maria Alina Salgueiro Seabra Ferreira's groundbreaking book I Am the Other: Literary Negotiations of Human Cloning (2005). Ferreira claims that "the idea of human clones or doubles is considered frightening, disturbing, and uncanny" (34; my italics) and cites Slavoj Žižek, who refers to a (true) clone as a "genetic double" while contending that the possibility of encountering one's double gives rise to anxiety because the double "clones the very uniqueness of my personality" (315−16). In a more positive vein, which nonetheless continues Žižek's metaphorical employment of the term "clone," Ferreira maintains that "[l]ike the double, the clone can be seen as the mirror image onto which one can project either dreams and wishes unfulfilled in one's lifetime or even socially unacceptable desires" (44). Ferreira further underscores the link of both clones and doubles to copies, claiming that the human fascination with all of these has become particularly intense in contemporary culture, dubbed by Hillel Schwartz "the culture of the copy."

Clones (as human beings and as characters in narrative fiction) are two or more approximately genetically identical individuals who are [→page 364] the result of nuclear somatic transfer; My use of the term of "cloning" refers only to organism cloning and does not include molecular cloning (i.e., cloning unicellular organisms and cloning in stem cell research). I define clones as "approximately genetically identical" because some DNA is contained in the mitochondria, tiny organs in the cytoplasm of the cell that provide energy (see Herbert, Sheler, and Watson 18; Morell 68; Winston 105). "clone narratives" are science fiction narratives that feature clones as their main characters.

Unlike clones, doubles are fictional entities that most likely cannot actually exist, It is almost needless to say that fictional doubles originate from actual psychic phenomena, elaborately described and analyzed in numerous books (e.g., Olaf Koob). Yet doubles, as the human incorporation of certain aspects or parts of a [→page 391] split consciousness, are "a literary, and specifically a fictional, device for articulating the experience of self−division" (Živković 122), which is based on the paradox of duality and unity (Keppler 14). My view is therefore incompatible with the mystical view of the human double (presented, for instance, in Shirley), according to which doubles exist in actual reality as etheric bodies, or as consciousnesses that can act and interact independently of the physical body. and their definition is much more controversial. I define "double narratives" as narratives in which one of the characters (usually the protagonist) believes that another character is a (usually false, deceptive, and inferior) copy of his self, or of part of his self, and this belief is supported by some textual evidence apart from the belief itself. This definition implies that the introspective perspective of the protagonist should be complemented by an intersubjective perspective of other characters and by the Olympian perspective of a (near)omniscient narrator or an implied author (see Margolin 179−81). There are close affinities and partial overlap between stories about doubles and stories about multiple personality. However, if the belief of the protagonist that he has a double is not supported by any textual evidence other than his belief (a case in point is Vladimir Nabokov's Despair [1937]), I would rather label the story a "pseudo−double narrative." Moreover, the double in some double narratives, such as E. T. A. Hoffmann's "Die Doppeltgänger," is unequivocally represented as a supernatural phenomenon rather than a case of multiple personality (hence these narratives demonstrate what Todorov calls "the marvelous," by contrast to "the fantastic").

This definition excludes fictional narratives that feature quasi−doubles, in which significant analogies are drawn between the main character and other characters, but none of them is portrayed as a "second self" or a "derivative" of the other (two cases in point are Clarissa and Septimus in Virginia Woolf's Mrs Dalloway, and Andrei Versilov and Arkadi Dolgoruky in Fyodor Dostoyevsky's A Raw Youth; see Herdman 14−15). It also excludes various cultural manifestations of the wide category that Milica Živković designates "[t]he archetype of universal duality," which "reflects pagan beliefs in the primacy of dyadic structure and in the plurality of the Sacred" (123). However, my definition does include narratives in which the original and his double never exist simultaneously as two separate persons who can confront each other, such as Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, which are excluded for this reason from the theoretical frameworks of double narratives or "second self narratives" proposed by Carl Francis Keppler (8−9) and Margolin (199−200).

Doubles have been, in one form or another, part of literature and mythology long before their flourishing in Romantic and Post−Romantic fiction of the nineteenth century. One of the main reasons for the propagation of double narratives during the Romantic period is the growing interest in the unconscious and the uncanny. Doubles [→page 365] are the most appropriate fictional analogues for the Romantic imagination as a creative and a destructive faculty of the mind. A historical analysis of the emergence and development of the double theme in nineteenth century fiction is beyond the scope of my essay. For enlightening surveys of the historical background, see Herdman, esp. 11−20; and Schmid, esp. 33−46.

By contrast, clones are a relatively new concept in both science and literature (see Ferreira 4−5). The first fictional narrative that figures laboratory genetic duplicates is, to the best of my knowledge, Huxley's Brave New World (1932); In Charlotte Perkins Gilman's utopian novel Herland (1915), women reproduce through parthenogenesis, i.e., a form of asexual reproduction found in females. In this sense, Herland can be considered a progenitor of clone narratives. However, unlike parthenogenesis, cloning is an artificial (i.e., scientifically produced) and hence strictly controlled way of reproduction. clone narratives proliferated in the 1970s and the 1980s, an era in which biotechnology in general and the notion of cloning in particular gained momentum. These technological and scientific developments were accompanied by a growing philosophical interest in copies, duplications, and simulacra in contemporary culture, manifested in the works of Jean Baudrillard, Gilles Deleuze and Slavoj Žižek, among others.

In what follows, I begin with a presentation of some thematic common denominators of double narratives from the nineteenth century and clone narratives from the last decades that buttress the equivalence between clones, doubles, and copies noted by some contemporary scholars. I then demonstrate the limitations of "the equivalence approach"—it blurs crucial differences between the representations of doubles and clones in fictional narratives. At first sight, the reader of both types of narratives can be tempted to distinguish between political clone narratives and psychological double narratives; however, I claim that this binary distinction is simplistic and cannot give a concise account of the much subtler differences between these two bodies of literature. I propose to replace this distinction with an exploration of the ways in which double narratives portray the relations between the original and his or her double as both intrasubjective (i.e., the double is interpreted as a part of the original's self) and intersubjective (i.e., the double is interpreted as a separate, autonomous person). By contrast, I claim that the relations between the clone and his or her original are first and foremost intersubjective: the clone's fictional existence is never questioned in clone narratives, even if in certain cases this existence shatters the self−identity of the original.

[→page 366] Tzvetan Todorov's analysis of the fantastic, and Otto Rank's pioneering work about the double are conducive to my argument regarding generic and thematic differences between double narratives and clone narratives.

2. Some Common Denominators of Double Narratives and Clone Narratives

Although they are often treated as identical copies of their originals, literary representations of both doubles and clones can be quite different from these. Human clones, although approximately genetically identical, would resemble each other less than identical twins: unlike identical twins, they would share the majority of their genes, but not all; they would most probably not share the same prenatal environment; they may be raised by different parents in different environments, and possibly even in different eras. Hence clones are not replicas of their originals. Fictional clones look virtually the same as human clones would actually look. Nonetheless, their personalities are prone to be substantially different, as science expects them to be. If clones are made to be "copies" of each other, as in Brave New World and Solution Three, it is the result of conditioning and indoctrination rather than mere identical genes.

The double is also never identical to his original in every respect, yet the degree of similarity between them widely varies. The particular way in which the double is different from his original "is responsible for the dynamic tension that always exists between them" (Keppler 11). Some doubles cannot be distinguished from their originals in their external appearance (they are "outward⁄manifested doubles") and are also remarkably similar to their originals in their personality (hence they are also "inward⁄experiential doubles"; cf. Landkildehus 71). James Hogg's The Private Memoirs and Confessions of A Justified Sinner (1824) is an example of what seems at first sight to be almost complete identity between the double and his original—not only in their looks, but also in their beliefs, world−view, and temperament—whereas [→page 367] Stevenson's Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde portrays an original and a double in terms of radical opposition. The ambiguity of the double is similarly described by Živković: "the psychological power of the double lies in its ambiguity, in the fact that it can stand for contrast or opposition, but likeness as well. It can be complementarity, as in the Platonic conception of twin souls which seek each other in order to make a whole out of their sundered halves" (122). A Justified Sinner shows more resemblance to clone narratives in the sense that clones, by definition, are outwardly (almost) identical.

Apart from portraying clones and doubles as being different in some respects from their originals, fictional narratives that feature clones and those that portray doubles share some major concerns. They both take a skeptical approach to science and technology. Some double narratives of the (post)Romantic era are marked by considerable suspicion of scientific rationality; a prominent example is Stevenson's Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. Unlike most originals in double stories, Dr Jekyll has deliberately created his own double, Mr Hyde, by experimenting with alchemy. The reason for this creation, according to Jekyll's confession at the last part of the novella, is his feeling of "a profound duplicity of life" (155) and his wish to bring peace and serenity to his strife−torn soul by splitting its conflicting parts—his rational and moral faculties on the one hand and his base and cruel impulses on the other hand—into two separate entities. However, Dr Jekyll loses control of his transformations into Mr Hyde and vice versa; the crucial ingredient in his potion seems to have been an impurity in the original powder, an ingredient that is beyond his power and control. Hence instead of settling his internal conflicts, Dr Jekyll's (pseudo)−scientific experiments provoke misery and despair that culminate in his death. Hoffmann's "Der Sandmann" (1821), although not strictly a double narrative, features characters who seem to be each other's doubles (the lawyer Coppelius is identified with the Sandman [334] and later with the barometer seller Giuseppe Coppola [338]). Furthermore, the protagonist Nathanael believes that his father, who dies while experimenting with alchemy, becomes, or appears as, very similar to Coppelius—his partner for these experiments. Thus the double in Hoffmann's story, as in Stevenson's novella, originates from the dangers of alchemy, a (pseudo)science which strives to transgress the limitations of human knowledge and intellectual abilities. Double narratives share this anxiety over the loss of control of scientific investigation—particularly investigation whose aim is the creation of (pseudo or semi) humans—with other narratives of the nineteenth century, most notably Mary Shelley's Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus (1818) and H. G. Wells's The Island of Doctor Moreau (1896). The failure of the experiment signals as a warning, typical of Romantic and post−Romantic literature, for scientists to avoid tinkering with human nature.

The suspicion towards science is also evinced in some clone narratives of the last decades (e.g., Fay Weldon's The Cloning of Joanna May [1989] and Kazuo Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go [2005]). These narratives express their authors' belief that the spectacular scientific achievements of the modern era are not necessarily followed by similar progress in ethics; particularly, clone narratives display the anxiety about potential abuses of biotechnology by narcissistic individuals, totalitarian regimes, and dehumanizing societies.

[→page 368] Both double narratives and clone narratives jeopardize the idea of a unified and coherent subject and dissolve the differences between oneself and the other: "the contemporary fascination with duplication, duality, resemblance, and immortality can be said to be the millennial equivalent to the romantic attraction to the double, the dual, the alter ego […] at the heart of the idea of human cloning is the question of identity itself, of the formation of the ego, as is also the case in narratives of the double" (Ferreira 34, 37). The next sections will delve deeper into questions of identity.

Characters of clone narratives tend to support the view of clones as a particular type of double, a replica of the original, whereas the implied authors of these narratives are apt to challenge and subvert this view. Max, the protagonist of David Rorvik's narrative, In His Image: The Cloning of A Man (1978), is inspired and motivated to clone himself by the putative double he once had. For Max, in contrast to most protagonists of double narratives, the idea of having someone created in his own image is neither frightening nor threatening. On the contrary, his clone brings back a part of him that he has always felt was missing. Max insists that the dreams in which his double constantly appeared were not a narcissistic fantasy, and tells the narrator−journalist of the identical twin, in his view the double, that he had once had and whose traces he lost (89−90). Joshua, in Nancy Freedman's Joshua Son of None (1973), is another protagonist whose notion of the double impinges on his conception of cloning, in his case, of being a clone. Joshua associates the clone with the double, and identifies both with being someone else's copy: "He remembered an old German folk tale in which it was related that every person in the world has his Doppelgänger, that each man's exact replica exists somewhere in the world" (111). Hence, the protagonist feels that his value as a unique individual is obliterated and experiences an identity crisis that he attempts to resolve.

Unlike clone narratives that explicitly tackle with the analogy between clones and doubles, Romantic double narratives do not, of course, directly refer to the idea of clones, which was nonexistent at [→page 369] the time. However, some of them feature "clone precursors" (multiplied doubles), which reveal the troubled, or delusional, mind of the protagonist and his fear of complete fragmentation of the self. Such "clones," in the metaphorical sense of interchangeable exemplars of one individual, a cluster of doubles, obliterate the original's image of a stable and undivided self. In the words of Clair Potter, "the double can only be understood as at least double, if by double we come to mean that which repeats itself infinitely" (58).

Dostoyevsky's The Double (1846) and Robert Louis Stevenson's The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1886) demonstrate this transformation from one double into a plurality of doubles. Golyadkin, the protagonist of The Double, becomes ever more disturbed as his double manipulatively succeeds, both literally and metaphorically, to take his place in both the private and the public sphere. Golyadkin's anxiety about his double grows to such an extent that he imagines that his double multiplies. In one scene, Golyadkin dreams of a series of indistinguishable doubles who surround him and leave him no place to go (225). A second and similar scene occurs at the very end of the novella, a stage in which the protagonist is no longer capable of distinguishing a dream from actuality (279). In this way, the distinction between one copy of the original self and a potentially infinite number of copies is blurred. If the singularity of the self is violated and its cohesiveness impaired, it makes little difference whether this violation is effected by one double or by a cluster of "cloned doubles."

Unlike Golydakin, Henry Jekyll does not fancy a multiplicity of cloned doubles, but rather dwells upon the idea of such multiplicity in a way that lays bare the allegorical overtones of the figure of the double. In the last part of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, in which Henry Jekyll gives his full statement of the case, he argues that his double, Mr. Hyde, signifies the essential split self of all human beings: "man is not truly one, but truly two" (157). But then he adds that the double actually signifies the possibility for many other "doubles," who can dismantle the self and engender total chaos: "I say two, because the state of my own knowledge does not pass beyond that point. Others will [→page 370] follow, others will outstrip me on the same lines; and I hazard the guess that man will be ultimately known for a mere polity of multifarious, incongruous and independent denizens" (157). Unlike for Golyadkin, for Dr. Jekyll the existence of multiple selves remains an abstract hypothesis, but through their experience and insights they both demonstrate the devastating feeling of internal fragmentation and loss of control inherent in the topos of the double in narrative fiction.

3. Thematic and Structural Differences between Double Narratives and Clone Narratives

Double narratives and clone narratives highlight existential questions that science and rational thought cannot satisfactorily answer: what constitutes individuality? Is the human subject unified or split? What are the mental, social, and cultural processes that destabilize and dissolve the subject, and how do they function? However, with respect to these questions there are asymmetrical relations between the double narratives, which are deeply engaged with issues of individual self−identity, and clone narratives, of which not all tackle such issues. One reason for this difference is that when cloning becomes a common practice, as in some fictional societies (e.g., Never Let Me Go), or when it becomes the only existent or legitimized way of procreation (e.g., Ursula K. Le Guin's "Nine Lives" [1975]), the Western conception of individuality, which is based on uniqueness and singularity, is subverted. Moreover, when the clones and their originals inhabit separate worlds and never (or rarely) encounter each other, the identity of each group and each individual of that group is formed relatively independently of the individuals of the other group.

Dr. Jekyll's reference to the "polity of multifarious" doubles can serve as a temporary anchor to an analysis of the major thematic difference between double narratives and clone narratives. In Jekyll's thoughts, "polity" is metaphorically employed in reference to internal, [→page 371] psychological processes. This metaphorical use highlights the fact that double narratives usually focus on one individual and his Unlike clone narratives, the most prominent double narratives all feature male protagonists. double rather than on issues of political authority and public policy.

By contrast, clone narratives are explicitly political, in the sense that they represent the ways in which communities of (genetically identical) individuals are formed and governed. Furthermore, cloning—combined with indoctrinate education (Naomi Mitchison's Solution Three [1975], Damon Knight's "Mary" [1964]) and operant conditioning (Aldous Huxley's Brave New World [1932]ong>[→page 392] 11. "Bokanovsky's Process" described in Brave New World (esp. 15−19) is, strictly speaking, not cloning, but rather a laboratory fertilization of an egg by sperm, and the subsequent budding and division of the fertilized egg into ninety−six identical human embryos. However, the similarities between "Bokanovsky's process" and mass cloning are striking: the embryos (re)produced in "Bokanovsky's process" are genetically identical, and, like clones, they are the product of artificial rather than natural reproduction. In "Bokanovsky's process," "[t]he principle of mass production [is] at last applied to biology" (18). )—is a way to establish public order, impose discipline and obedience on the citizens, and ensure their loyalty to the leader and the bureaucratic apparatus of the state. Clones seem to be a cohesive, homogeneous, nameless and faceless mass that will easily overpower any individual who does not toe the line.

However, this description is true only for some "communal clone narratives" (such as Damon Knight's "Mary"), which display fictional worlds in which cloning is practiced as a major form, or even the only permitted form, of human reproduction. Other clone narratives, such as Fay Weldon's The Cloning of Joanna May, are just as interested in the "depth psychology" of the protagonist as double narratives. More−over, even these "communal clone narratives" tend to portray a protagonist who resists the foundational principles and practices of the regime and endeavors to struggle for expressing his or her ideas and achieving his or her individual aims, which do not tally with those of the leadership. Hence, a binary opposition between political−communal clone narratives and psychological−individual double narratives should be supplemented with a more subtle formulation of the thematic differences between the two narrative corpora.

One possible way of marking these differences is examining the representation of the intersubjective relations in both types of narratives (with the original−protagonist functioning as the subject). Todorov's literary observations about the fantastic genre and Rank's psychoanalytical insights about the double in mythology and literature will conduce to my argument that the anxiety of impending death and [→page 372] self−annihilation hovers over the great majority of both double narratives and clone narratives, although the manifestations of this anxiety in the two narrative traditions are radically different.

4. Self−Identity and the Fantastic

Todorov designates one of the chief themes that characterize the fantastic genre as "the fragility of the limit between matter and mind" (120) and points to the double as a significant ramification of this theme: "[t]he multiplication of personality, taken literally, is an immediate consequence of the possible transition between matter and mind: we are several persons mentally, we become so physically" (116). This theme is related to that of "the relation of man with his desire" (139), central, as Todorov points out, to the fantastic genre. Indeed, some of the most well−known double narratives satisfy the first condition of Todorov's fantastic—the reader's constant oscillation between two contradicting hypotheses for explaining the events of the story. There is a natural hypothesis, according to which the double exists only in the imagination of the original, that is, as a projection of his unconscious anxieties, and a supernatural hypothesis, according to which the double actually exists in a fictional world governed by supernatural forces and laws. These two hypotheses correspond to what I have termed as "intrasubjective" and "intersubjective" relations, respectively, between the original and his double.

In double narratives, Todorov's concept of the reader's hesitation between two mutually exclusive readings takes the shape of an oscillation between two interpretations of the relation between the transformation of the original's personality and the appearance of the double: the appearance of the double may be seen as the reason for the change of mind or the "fundamental transformation in [the] belief system" of the original (Landkildehus 65), or else it may be seen as the result of such change. For instance, in reading Dostoyevsky's The Double, one can detect preliminary signs of Golyadkin's mental illness [→page 373] before the first appearance of his double (e.g., his paranoid suspicions, extreme lack of confidence, passivity, and self−effacement, see esp. 126, 132−33, 151−55, 160−61; his unexpected burst of sobbing, see 133; his convulsions, 132; his unclear and interrupted speech, esp. 129−37; the remarks of his physician, Christian Ivanovich, about his unhealthy loneliness, 129−30). It is therefore reasonable to claim that the double is a projection of Golyadkin's anxiety and existential self−doubt, a symptom of his insanity. Conversely, it makes sense to maintain that, since other characters, such as Golyadkin's colleague Anton Antonovich, concur in the original Golyadkin's assertion that the two are remarkably similar, in fact indistinguishable, and believe that they are twins (173−75), the double cannot be reduced to Golyadkin's deranged mind. According to the second option, the actual existence of the double in the fictional world provokes, or at least promotes, the crucial emotional, cognitive, and behavioral transformation of his original.

In Edgar Allan Poe's "William Wilson" (1839), the arguments that support each of the options of explanation are essentially different. William Wilson's double takes the form of a repressed and obstinate conscience, which does not let his original evil−doer go on with his life. The natural hypothesis (according to which the original Wilson is possessed by his purported double, which actually exists as an alter ego only in his mind) is supported by the fact that students who study with William Wilson do not notice that his "namesake" imitates, patronizes, masters, and manipulates him—and indeed, it is most plausible that only the narrator interprets the other William Wilson's smiles as "sarcastic" (104). By contrast, the supernatural option is supported by "the apparent omnipresence and omnipotence of Wilson" (115), demonstrated by the second Wilson's constant (dis)appearances and by his accurate and comprehensive knowledge of the first Wilson's life that could not have been natural without constant spying. However, these (dis)appearances can also tally with the natural hypothesis, if the reader assumes that the original Wilson gradually becomes delusional and fabricates the second, who haunts [→page 374] his mind with guilt and penitence after the attempt to murder his double has failed.

Most double narratives portray solitary, rootless individuals, whose family ties (if they have any) play hardly any role in their lives. This state of existential alienation reinforces Todorov's "natural explanation" of these stories. The double in Guy de Maupassant's story "Le Horla" (1887) appears when the original narrating character feels most lonely, as a symptom of a mind imprisoned in itself, unwilling or unable to bond with others, and appalled by his own unconscious self. See also Rank (99). Astrid Schmid notes the connection between the psychological perspective with regard to the double and the sociological perspective: "[a]s well as elucidating the outsider position of the protagonist, the double also underlines the general condition of a society which forces individuals into such isolation" (55). The allegorical overtones of "Le Horla" become evident when the protagonist universalizes his solitary state of mind in claiming that social alienation gives rise to the emergence of doubles and other apparitions and should therefore be avoided: "Certes, la solitude est dangereuse […] Quand nous sommes seuls longtemps, nous peuplons le vide de fantômes" (347; "Certainly, solitude is dangerous […] When we are alone for a long while, we populate the void with phantoms"; my translation). Indeed, in Maupassant's story the "natural explanation," madness, seems more plausible than the "supernatural explanation." This renders "Le Horla" closer to what Todorov names "the uncanny" (41−57) than to the fantastic. My view with regard to Maupassant's "Le Horla" is similar to Rank's (29−33). By contrast, Todorov regards this story as a fantastic tale. Although the reader can assume that the narrating characters in fantastic stories are insane, "because they are not introduced by a discourse distinct from that of the narrator, we still lend them a paradoxical confidence" (86).

The existential−ontological risk of losing one's self−identity and even one's life in double narratives is portrayed as intrinsically connected to the ethical risk of losing one's inhibitions. As opposed to some clone narratives, which show interest in a specific evil act or motive for cloning, double narratives are more concerned with evil as a spiritual, abstract principle embodied in an evil personality: the struggle between good and evil as (macro)cosmic powers whose microcosmic arena is the human soul. These aspects are signified in most cases by the double, who is both the cause and the result of his original's complete loss of control over his life, and of the original's inability to be treated as a moral agent responsible for his actions.

On the macrocosmic level, which corresponds to Todorov's "supernatural explanation," the evil double represents the devil, whose temptations, in the form of deceptive malleability, the original should [→page 375] resist. For a thorough theological perspective to the double, see Herdman, esp. 3−10. On the microcosmic level, which aligns with Todorov's "natural explanation," the evil double is a projection of the internal irruption of the original's harmful desires and malicious impulses. The chameleon double in Hogg's A Justified Sinner is the most apt symbol for the two facets (or interpretations) of the evil spirit. The chameleon is the corporeal form of complete identification with the essence of another person—the deepest aspects of his soul, as reflected in his facial and corporeal features. The chameleon−double of Robert Colwan, Gil−Martin, takes the form of pure evil. He can change his appearance and take the form of any person, and even appear as the good and benevolent George, Robert's (half−) brother (170). Evil as a spiritual principle is marked in Hogg's novel by the instability of identity, which implies fickleness and unreliability; by contrast, good is stable and reliable. Good is unified and inseparable, whereas evil can be doubled, and even "cloned" in multiple forms of forgery and impersonating.

Clone narratives lack this sort of symbolism, which in double narratives originates from the status of the double as both internal and external (in other words, from the relationship of the original and his double as both intrasubjective and intersubjective). Unlike double narratives, most clone narratives are neither fantastic nor uncanny in Todorov's sense. Todorov believes that the supernatural elements in fantastic narratives, including those that portray doubles, are an expedient to avoid breaking taboos by raising themes such as incest and homosexuality (cf. 158−59). If Todorov's analysis is correct, then clone narratives of the last decades are no longer in need of such expedients. Todorov attributes the waning of former taboos to the rise of psychoanalysis (160−61). The clones are actual entities in the science fictional world, whose existence is doubted neither by the characters nor by the reader. The identity crisis in double narratives originates from the belief (or the suspicion) of the protagonist that his uniqueness and self−agency were plundered by his double. Conversely, a baffled sense of self−identity in clone narratives follows the discovery of the protagonist that he or she is a clone (or has been cloned). The bewilderment of the clone and⁄or the original is particularly likely to arise in a society of non−cloned individuals, in which discovering that one is a clone or has a clone implies a fundamental change in one's self−image and in the conception of family relations.

However, in contrast to the split and strife−torn identity of the original in double narratives, clone narratives display a gamut of possibilities [→page 376] with regard to the effect that the knowledge of having a genetically identical individual has on the original and his or her clone. I will provide brief examples for four of the many alternative combinations between the status of clones in society and the way that it impinges on the formation of their self−identity: Eva Hoffman's The Secret (2001) and Pamela Sargent's short story "Clone Sister" (1973) demonstrate the crisis of self−identity of a clone in an individual clone narrative and in a communal clone narrative, respectively; by contrast, Weldon's The Cloning of Joanna May (1989) illustrates an individual clone narrative and Kazuo Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go (2005)—a communal clone narrative, in which the clones (and, in Weldon's case, the original too) do not go through such a severe identity crisis. This gamut of possibilities demonstrates that clone narratives represent a variety of views about the connection between the loss of individuality and the identical genes of the original and his or her clone(s).

In Hoffman's novel, Iris, the protagonist and the narrator, is the cloned daughter of her mother Elisabeth, who treats herself and her daughter as an autarchic unit, and therefore permits Iris to have only minimal contact with others: "My mother was enough for me; she supplied all my needs. She focused on me and coddled me and loved me half to death" (5). When the protagonist turns seventeen, she uncovers her origins—the secret which her mother has persistently held. Iris's frustration, helplessness, and wrath for being deprived of her autonomous self reach their climax in her intention to murder her mother, which demonstrates not only her hostility, but also her inability to forge a separate identity as long as her "mother−double" is alive. However, Iris eventually does not murder Elisabeth and substitutes the destructive inseparability from her mother with a romantic relationship with Robert, which turns her into "an individual of the species, with proper exhilarations and proper hurts" (260). Iris's identity crisis as a clone is resolved when she and her mother inhabit separate spheres and each embarks on her own life.

Similarly, Jim, the clone protagonist in Sargent's "Clone Sister," feels that a rupture with his family is the inevitable resolution for his [→page 377] baffled identity. Unlike Iris in The Secret, Jim is raised from the day he was born in a family of cloned brothers and sisters. Jim feels inseparable from them, and this feeling renders him diffident rather than satisfied with the harmonious and protective atmosphere that reigns in his family. His unstable self−identity catalyzes his separation from his non−cloned girl−friend Moira, who reproaches him for using her to prove to himself that he is an individual and adds, "I've got better things to do than build up your ego" (181; italics in the original). Eventually Jim decides that leaving home may give him better chances to establish himself as an individual.

By contrast, in Weldon's The Cloning of Joanna May, Joanna's clones are brought up separately and do not know of each other's existence for thirty years. When they meet, their identities as autonomous individuals have already been relatively stable, therefore the knowledge that each of them is genetically identical to four other women (including their original) is astonishing, thrilling, and confusing for them, but does not undermine their identities or give rise to the belief that they are interchangeable. The original Joanna, cloned by her ex−husband Carl without her consent, feels that her clones—rather than demoting her self−image as a unique individual—have made her feel even more special than she used to. She thinks of her clones as her own self, herself−as−another, her sisters and her daughters at once, and must reconsider her self in relation to them (cf. 46−47, 203). However, Joanna believes that by triggering her reconsideration of the foundations of her identity, Carl has unwittingly made her an autonomous person, and she feels she has regained control over her life (246).

Although the protagonists of Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go do not feel that they have been benefited in any way by being cloned (indeed, their lot is to serve as organ banks for others), they, too, are not deeply concerned with the issue of their self−identity as clones. Admittedly, this issue does preoccupy them for a short while, but it promptly fades because they turn out to have a very limited effect on their actual lives. The clones can only guess who their originals are according to their looks and behavior and can never confirm their conjectures; [→page 378] hence the people whom they point out as those who may be their originals are called "possible." The general term that the clones use for their original—"model"—is a euphemism which falsely implies that the clones should construct their lives by imitating this "model" whom they will never get to know. "The possibles theory" attracts the clones, because they believe that knowing who is whose "model" can teach them something not only about their (future) destiny but also about their (present) character: "when you saw the person you were copied from, you'd get some insight into who you were deep down" (127). However, the clones renounce the tracking down of their "models" with relative ease, because they realize that their attempts to learn some essential truths about themselves through their "possibles" are futile.

To summarize the last section, according to Todorov's theory of the fantastic, the double in fantastic narratives is both a projection of the originial's unconscious and an external, supernatural element of the plot. The encounter of the original with his double is hence both a cause and a symptom of his shattered self−identity. The double, on his side, typically displays a stable and self−assured self−identity, thereby mocking the insecure existence of his original. By contrast, the encounter of the original with his or her clone is portrayed as real rather than projected, and this encounter often (but not always) brings about a temporary or permanent identity crisis for the original and⁄or for his or her clone, who are represented as two autonomous subjects.

5. Visions of Death, Dreams of Immortality

Self−fragmentation, or the dissolution of individuality in double narratives, is related to the conception of doubles as portending death, analyzed in Otto Rank's renowned work Der Doppelgänger (1925). These narratives represent a world view according to which the corporeal unity of the individual depends on the unity, coherence, and uniqueness of his good soul (an evil soul is both a symptom and a [→page 378] cause of self−fragmentation). Rank claims that the universal belief in a human soul which is separable from the body but can be incorporated in shadows, specters, mirrors, photos, portraits, and doubles demonstrates the narcissistic wish for immortality. He points out that narcissism is ambivalent, giving rise to self−love on the one hand, and fear and disgust of the rejected aspects of oneself on the other (esp. 96−117). Rank claims that the rejected self—particularly the ageing and the evil self, intermingled, for instance, in Dorian Gray's portrait (26, 96−99)—is projected onto a mirror image, of which the double is one of the most significant forms. For this reason, double narratives display the inclination of the original to commit suicide, which contradicts his wish for an afterlife and can therefore be achieved only by a murderous double (109). The ambivalence of narcissism is reflected in taboos of various cultures with regard to shadows (e.g., the prohibition to step on the shadow of the king) as well as in the representations of doubles in literature and mythology: as a guardian angel that preserves the self in some myths, and as a devilish figure that heralds impending death in others. Milica Živković appositely explicates the prevalence of the double−devil in double narratives of the nineteenth century: "The appearance of the demonic double as opposed to and irreconcilable with the guardian angel marks the moment in the history of Western civilization when the archaic belief in the continuum of life and death and the exchange between man and nature was replaced by a sense of man as discontinuity leading to death and madness—a sense of man ultimately alienated from his own wishes, desires and fears, embodied in the figure of the double" (124).

As a psychoanalytic model, Rank's thesis creates an imbalance in Todorov's model of measuring the natural and the supernatural explanations. Rank's approach reduces the supernatural explanation to the natural—a delusional projection of internal reality—and therefore has less explanatory power than Todorov's with regard to Romantic double narratives. However, Rank's contribution to an explication of the connections between doubles and death anxiety has significant repercussions for this study.

It seems at first sight that double narratives and clone narratives present a radical opposition with regard to death: the first prefiguring death, the second portending immortality. If one can continue to live through his or her DNA, which is transferred from one individual to another, then this form of immortality can be achieved by cloning oneself. Some clone narratives (Greg Egan's "The Extra" [1990], Michael Marshall Smith's Spares [1996], Ishiguro's Never Let me Go) promise only to extend the original's life (and in Ishiguro's novel, [→page 379] perhaps the lives of other "normal" people as well) by using his or her clones as "spares," i.e., organ banks. This more limited promise is, of course, attainable, albeit at the price of dehumanizing the clones, who are generally regarded as lacking souls and therefore inferior to "normal" people. However, most clone narratives eventually demonstrate that the aim of achieving immortality through cloning is unattainable.

The wish to defeat death is thus a basic motivation for cloning in many clone narratives. In The Cloning of Joanna May, although Joanna was unknowingly cloned, her cloning seems to realize her fantasies of remaining forever young. However, Joanna is aware of the gap between her ideal−self and who she really is at the age of sixty. She realizes that the sort of "immortality" that one achieves by having children, regardless of whether or not they are clones, has a price: it makes you older and realize "the inevitability of age and death" (121). Hence Joanna's more mature attitude eventually makes her accept the fact that time cannot be frozen, and that life requires compromises.

Ira Levin's The Boys from Brazil is another clone narrative that highlights the senselessness of the idea of attaining immortality through cloning. The 94 "Hitler clones" created by the Nazi physician Joseph Mengele are the main part of his plot to reestablish the Nazi regime and take control of the world. The absurdity of this plan is clearly shown towards the end of the story, when Bobby, one of the clones, saves the life of the Jew Yakov Libermann, a Nazi hunter, and sets his dogs on the Nazi physician: Hitler cannot live again through his clones; they are autonomous human beings, and each of them develops his own personality.

Nancy Freedman's Joshua Son of None is a significant exception to this trend of clone narratives to mock or challenge the idea of achieving immortality through cloning. In her forword to this science fiction novel, Freedman expresses her belief that cloning will place immortality within the grasp of the individual. The belief that human beings can overcome death by being cloned is repeated several times throughout the novel, both as a scientific idea and as a religious popular [→page 381] conception that equates the "resurrection" of the assassinated and cloned president of the USA with Christ's reincarnation (221), and it is echoed in one of the novel's last lines: "[t]he nightmare of death was ended" (237). Thus the novel affirms the notion that the president and his clone have the same self, in other words, that the life of the clone is a direct continuation of the life of his original. Freedman's novel seems to realize, in its plot and characterization, the dream of immortality that most clone narratives deem an illusion, even in a fictional world that outweighs our own with regard to scientific progress. However, the notion of immortality in the novel is meager and disappointing: it is basically a repetition of the life of the original rather than a continuation of his life.

Thus, the difference between double narratives and clone narratives concerning death anxiety is ultimately not in its overt display in one type of narrative and its overcoming in another: the double is a sign of impending death for his original, plundering his original's soul and thereby indicating the dissolution of the original's self; therefore the original and his double eventually cannot coexist. By contrast, the original and his or her clone can coexist: the one's survival does not necessarily entail the destruction of the other. Moreover, in some narratives the clone is conceived as forever soulless and therefore as posing no threat to the life of his or her original. However, the original cannot attain immortality through his or her clone; the promise of immortality is, in the final analysis, delusional. The next section develops a more elaborate explanation of these differences.

6. The Protagonist and his Antagonist: Rivalries and Subordination

The possibility that the double is a culturally bounded conception of the natural other (which can be reduced neither to the other within the self nor to the supernatural other) is never raised in Todorov's study of the fantastic genre, and of double narratives as one of its manifestations. In this respect, Todorov is perhaps impeded by the structuralist [→page 382] methodology of binary opposition. The double as a natural other is a Romantic image of the other per se as a permanent threat to one's identity. It is the other over which the self has no control and who thus demonstrates to the self the limits of his delusional self−sufficiency. In this section, I attempt to fill this lacuna in Todorov's thesis with some observations. These will provide a more comprehensive comparison of double narratives and clone narratives, focusing on the intersubjective relations between the self and the other, the protagonist and his antagonist. My analysis in this section is inspired by René Girard's observations about mimetic desire (also called "triangular" or "metaphysical" desire) in his seminal book, Deceit, Desire, and the Novel (1965). For a more detailed discussion of Girard's thesis of mimetic desire see Amit Marcus, Narrators, Narratees, and Mimetic Desire. The romantic conception of desire resisted by Girard presents desire as spontaneous, that is, as a direct, linear connection between the desiring subject and the desired object (cf. 16−17, 29−39, 269). By contrast, according to Girard's triadic model, the subject does not desire the object in and for itself, but the desire is mediated by another subject, the mediator, who possesses, or pursues, this object. I propose that the desiring subject and the mediator can also be conflicting forces within the same individual: double narratives (particularly according to [→page 393] Todorov's natural hypothesis) do not suppose a whole, unified, and coherent subject of desire, but rather split this subject into two, and these two parts are personified: the self is at the same time the self−as−another. Hence I believe that my contention that one can be one's own rival is compatible with Girard's model.

In double narratives, the double and his original display rivalry, since they inhabit the same territory, and constantly observe as well as interact with each other—the double follows his original like a shadow The shadow is one of the most prevalent metaphors for the double or the alter ego, both in popular culture and in scholarly works of psychoanalysts such as Karl Gustav Jung's and Otto Rank's. Jonardon Ganeri imputes the attractiveness of the metaphor of the shadow for the description of the alter ego or the double to the fact "that it establishes a metaphysical asymmetry from the outset: the shadow depends for its existence on the more solid entity, but not vice versa," and adds that "[a]n implied master−slave relationship seems to hover in the background of the metaphor" (111). However, as in Hegel's original formulation of the slave−master relationship, so in the case of doubles−as−shadows, the hierarchy becomes more complicated when the original realizes that he can never be released from his double, as any person can never release himself from his own shadow. Thus ontological priority is only one parameter in the relations of power and domination between the original and his double (see also Lizama 172). and always keeps him within sight. The competition between them becomes more passionate and destructive as the physical, social, and spiritual distance between them is reduced.

The double tends to desire the "objects" that are the most precious for his original: not only his job, his lover, and his status, but also—as in the more extreme cases of rivalry—his body, his soul, his life. The ambivalence that the original often feels towards his double—hostility on the one hand, awe on the other hand—can also be explicated in terms of the imitation of the double by his original: the double is at the same time admired by his original as a model (the inversion of the hierarchical relations between original and double that such admiration implies will be clarified in the next paragraphs) and despised as an obstacle in achieving the "object" of desire. My explanation of the ambivalence of the original towards his double is based on Girard's observations regarding the rivalry between the subject of desire and his mediator (see also n16). This ambivalence has also been explained in other ways—for instance, by the fact that the double represents at one and the same time the evil self and the creative forces of the passionate and desiring self; cf. Andrew Hock Soon Ng 2.

The rivalry between the original and his double gives rise to complex relations of domination and counter−domination. The original is, in fact, ontologically prior to his double, as long as the story clearly states who is who, and the original tends to regard his ontological priority as a pretext for claiming priority over his double in other senses as well. However, the double often inverts the hierarchical relations with his original by subjugating the latter's will to his own. I agree with Lankildehus that "there may be no criterion to distinguish an ontological priority between someone and his so−called double. Indeed, it is mere idealization to identify someone as the original and an 'other' as his double, when in non−hierarchical language both instantiations are each other's double" (67). However, double narratives typically focus on one perspective, namely that of the original, who relates to another character as his double, and it is from this perspective that one character seems to have ontological priority over the other.

The most fundamental way to undermine the hierarchical relations between the original and his double is to challenge the belief of one or [→page 383] more of the characters that he is the original, and the other his double. This is done by the narrator of E. T. A. Hoffmann's "Die Doppeltgänger" (1816−17), who presents the two contrasting points−of−view of the two main characters, the painter George Haberland and the young traveler Deodatus Schwendy. Each of them thinks of himself as original and of the other as his double; each blames the other for being "a certain hostile entity" ("irgendein feindliches Wesen" 463) and "a devilish phantom" ("Du teuflisches Trugbild" 471), who harasses and deceives one, and steals one's lover (they do not know that Natalie is the lover of both). At the end of the story, both perspectives are undermined, when the narrator asserts that the two lads are each other's doubles and therefore none of them is ontologically (or in any other way) prior to the other: "each of them [was] the other's double, in countenance, figure, demeanor, etc." ("einer des andern Doppeltgänger in Antlitz, Wuchs, Gebärde etc." 483).

In "William Wilson," the implied author (rather than the narrator) likewise undermines the relations of original to double. Since the narrator, the first Wilson, admits that other students do not recognize the outstanding similarity between him and his "namesake," the reader is likely to doubt the narrator's assertion that the second Wilson imitates him both verbally and in his conduct. Indeed, the opposite version—that the original Wilson imitates the words and behavior of his double—seems not less plausible (the two doubles may of course not be imitating each other at all, but just revealing striking similarities).

Since the original in most double narratives does not create his double of his own free will, its very emergence—which comes as a complete surprise to his original and arouses confusion, anxiety, and rage—is experienced by the original as a violent act of invasion into his private territories that denies his free will and threatens the putative wholeness of his ego. This sudden and unwelcome appearance of a double, who represents rejected contents of the original's soul, is responsible for the asymmetry that characterizes rivalries in most double narratives: the original despises and loathes his double much [→page 384] more than vice versa. In Dostoyevsky's The Double and Hogg's A Justified Sinner, the double praises and flatters his original and pretends to be his humble inferior disciple, but this is soon revealed as part of his plot to take over: the originals in both narratives trust the person who seems so submissive and unconfident and do not take precautions. Both originals are also easily influenced by their doubles' advice; therefore they are an easy prey for the doubles, who suddenly become conceited, dominating, and despotic. In some other double narratives, however, the original too is an impostor: the original who narrates Maupassant's "Le Horla" schemes in several ways to catch the formless and elusive double who haunts him. The original William Wilson is a fraud too: he treats his "namesake" with bravado in public, while at the same time fearing and envying him in his private life (101).

The inseparability, which in most double narratives renders the desperate attempts of the original to release himself from his double impossible to achieve, is the reason for the harsh and violent rivalry between the two. In the most intense and violent cases of rivalry typical of the relations between doubles and their originals, the desire is aimed at the other subject's being. The last sentence is a paraphrase of Girard 53. The original and his double are not always one and the same from the start; they become inseparable because they treat each other as if the one's very being were dependent upon the other.

This is most emphatically articulated by the narrator of Maupassant's "Le Horla," who says of the ghost−double who haunts him: "he becomes my soul" ("il devient mon âme" 370). The process of identification of the double with his original, and vice versa, is also designated in "William Wilson": the main difference between the original Wilson and his "namesake" is the latter's defective voice. The second Wilson cannot raise his voice above a very low whisper. This difference, however, reduces as the narrative progresses: "his singular voice, it grew the very echo of my own" (104; italics in the original), and it utterly disappears at the last lines of the story: "[Wilson] spoke no longer in a whisper, and I could have fancied that I myself was speaking" (117). Similarly, the murder of the double entails suicide in Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray (1891). Dorian deems his portrait, painted by his friend Basil Hallward, an immanent part of himself (cf. 27), a visible emblem of his conscience (see 91−92), and "the most magical of mirrors" (106) which reveals to him the concealed facets of his>[→page 394] 24. The Picture of Dorian Gray is compatible with my definition of double narrative, although the portrait is certainly not a protagonist in the traditional sense. It is a partial animation of the inanimate: it does not speak, and it is unclear whether, and in what sense, it has a consciousness. However, "in respect to the capacity of physical growth and change the portrait is the animate one of the two, while Dorian is as inanimate as painted canvas, though only in this one respect […]. [The portrait] is as subjectively real, for his original and for us, as Dorian himself, for the reason that he is Dorian. But at the same time he is no less objectively real, as a completely independent being" (Keppler 80). When Dorian decides that he can no longer bear "the living death of his own soul" (220), he stabs the picture with a knife, thereby transferring the loathsome signs of age and sin to Dorian's dead visage. This inseparability of the original from his double also renders the ontological priority of the original over his double meaningless, since after the appearance of the double (if the double has not always been an immanent part of the original's self), the original cannot exist without him.

In Poe's story, the double Wilson pesters his original after the latter attempts to release himself from being possessed by his double, [→page 385] whereas in Wilde's novel it is the original Dorian who is obsessed by his "double" and feels an urgent need to watch it after nights of promiscuity and debauchery (cf. 140). However, to the extent that the double is indeed an immanent part of the original's soul, the obsession of the original with the double and vice versa are actually two sides of the same coin: the inability to free oneself of a rejected part of one's personality—in Dorian's case, as in Wilson's, the rejected part is the demanding and unforgiving conscience. The dream of immortality and the wish to remain forever young are ultimately presented as unattainable and destructive, because they can be achieved only by paying the unbearable price of leading a double life and denying one's conscience.

The formulaic ending of murder and⁄or suicide in double narratives can be plausibly interpreted as an insight into the devastating consequences of a split and exceptionally bewildered self. The recurrent motif of disappearances and reappearances of doubles, often unexpectedly after the original believes that they are gone forever, can be convincingly interpreted along the same lines, as signifying the constant efforts of the original to take control of his life and restore his former illusory unified self, and the inevitable failure of such efforts. The insoluble problem that arises from some of these narratives is that the double—if he is conceived of as a symbol of either conscience or, by contrast, forbidden impulses and desires—is doomed to (re)appear and demand complete domination over the original, regardless of whether the latter strives to reconcile himself with it (as in A Justified Sinner) or constantly represses and denies it (as in Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde).

Although double narratives typically end in a catastrophe, in which the double, the original, or both (to the extent that they are one and the same) are ruined, there are exceptions to the rule, for instance Hoffmann's "Die Doppeltgänger" and Théophile Gautier's "Le Chevalier double" (1840). Hoffmann's novella ends when Natalie, the lover of both protagonists, refuses to choose between them, and the two rivals renounce the estates of the prince that one of them was [→page 386] supposed to inherit and fall into each other's arms. The rejection of rivalry is achieved when the "object of desire" (Natalie) refuses to cooperate with the two rivals, and the rivals themselves acknowledge the futility of their desire and its potential destructiveness.

Whereas the resolution of rivalry in Hoffmann's novella is external, internal reconciliation brings about the resolution of the conflict in Gautier's story. The protagonist Oluf is completely unaware of his double—the diabolical aspect of his self—until someone draws his attention to it, and even then he at first refuses to believe in its existence. Thus the original and the double in Gautier's story do not go through a prolonged and callous rivalry. Oluf's willingness to face (in both a literal and a metaphorical sense) his internal devil−double and fight him sends the latter away and solves at once the internal conflict of a previously split self and the external conflict with his beloved Brenda.

In contrast to double narratives, the clone and his original often inhabit separate worlds, radically differ from each other both spiritually and socially, and rarely or never interact with each other. Hence the relations between clones and their originals are likely to be based on either complete indifference (as in Michael Marshall Smith's Spares or Ira Levin's The Boys from Brazil [1976]) or on projection and modeling (as in "Nine Lives" and Solution Three) rather than on rivalry and subjugation. In several clone stories, clones and their originals inhabit separate worlds as a result of a policy that excludes clones from the "normal" world. Indeed, the best way to control the clones is to separate them not only from their own originals but also from the world of ordinary human beings. The clones in Never Let Me Go and Spares inhabit a world of their own, in which they are not permitted to meet non−cloned human beings, except for the people directly in charge of them. It is a strictly regulated world in which one is severely punished for transgressing the rules. In Spares, the clones are dehumanized and degraded to such a degree that, even if they could have lived among ordinary human beings, they would have never coped with each [→page 387] other, because they lack language as well as any other symbolic means of communication.

In other clone stories (Solution Three, Brave New World, "Nine Lives"), the originals are no longer alive and the role that they play in the society of clones is a mythical one, namely to expound the origins of the society and unite all its members around an initiation story. Such societies are composed of many genetically identical individuals, who are not apt to show any interest in differentiating themselves from others or even strongly oppose it, since their identity is not based on the idea of uniqueness. In these narratives, the clones imitate their originals similarly to the way Don Quixote models his role of the immaculate knight on the legendary Amadís of Gaul (cf. Girard 8−9). Once again, the worlds of the clones in clone narratives are often completely separated from those of their "originals."

However, certain clone narratives do portray hostility and resentment between the clone and⁄or the original on the one hand and the clone's creator—the person who decided to clone the original and carried out the decision—on the other hand (the clone's creator is in most cases not the same person as his or her original). The main reason for this conflict is not rivalry between the original and his or her clone⁄s, but the fact that the decision to clone the original in some clone narratives is concealed from the original and⁄or the clone. Indeed, the slogan "knowledge is power," cited with a slight twist by Carl in The Cloning of Joanna May ("secret knowledge is power" 35)—is a significant aspect of several clone narratives.

Thus, Carl May conceals from Joanna the fact that he cloned her, because his motive was selfish and narcissistic: preventing the inevitable natural process of her ageing. Unable to restrain his desires, he treats his wife as a means of fulfilling his infantile wishes. The power to create the clones of his wife and keep her ignorant of their creation makes Carl feel Godlike (109). In several clone narratives, deception is a means of dominating the people who are unwittingly involved in the process of cloning, particularly women. This is emphatically represented in Rorvik's In His Image, in which Max rents the womb of a young virgin in order to have his clone, while she is informed that she was paid to serve as a surrogate mother for an infertile couple. Max insists that the woman should be a virgin, probably not for religious reasons, like she is told, but because he believes that a virgin would be less likely to claim the baby (150). Sparrow, the chosen virgin, is later notified that the child she bears is destined to become the heir of a wealthy man, but still she is not told that it is Max's clone. Similarly, in Yinon Nir's story, "Didn't You Know that You Had a Sister?" (1998), Yehoshua's father is so conceited and indifferent to his son's horror of being cloned thousands of times that he does not even attempt to conceal this information [→page 388] from Yehoshua; he simply forgets to tell him. The father, a scientist, manufactures the clones of his talented and good looking son as a commodity, for purely economic reasons (i.e., in order to be able to pay the high expenses of his genetic research), and it never crosses his mind to ask his son if he is willing to take part in this enterprise.

The power to clone is hence often abused in clone narratives to control both the original and the clones, to undermine their self−identity, and to deny their free will to make crucial decisions about their lives. Cloning is often portrayed in these narratives as evil because it originates in evil motives: greed, the desire for revenge, and most importantly, the desire to possess another person and to treat that person as an object, a means to an end.


In this essay, I have presented some significant similarities and differences between Romantic and post−Romantic double narratives of the nineteenth century and science fiction clone narratives of the last decades. Both types of narratives foreground issues related to the forging, maintenance, and dissolution of self−identity, and both tend to share an ambivalent approach towards science and technology, fascinated by their achievements and anxious about their potentially destructive repercussions. These similarities are the common ground of clone narratives that tend to associate clones with a specific type of double, and of double narratives that prefigure clones, in the metaphorical sense of a potentially infinite series of identical, substitutable human beings.

Yet there are crucial differences between the representations of doubles and clones in fictional narratives. I propose two types of approaches to highlight these differences: Tzvetan Todorov's work concerning the fantastic genre, and Otto Rank's study of the double provide the foundation for my analysis of these differences in [→page 389] intrasubjective terms (i.e., the relations between the original and him⁄herself), whereas the term "rivalry" (borrowed from René Girard's theory of mimetic rivalry; see n17 and n19) informs my ana−lysis in intersubjective terms (i.e., the relations between the original and his or her double or clone⁄s).

Following Todorov, I contend that the reader of double narratives hesitates between an interpretation of the double as having an objective existence in the fictional reality and an interpretation that views the double as a projection of the deranged mind of the protagonist. By contrast, the existence of clones in science fiction narratives is never put into doubt. Furthermore, the relations of doubles to their originals differ substantially from the relations of clones to their own: doubles and originals are prone to be engaged in harsh rivalry, whereas clones are most likely either to show indifference to their originals (not necessarily identical to their creators) or to consider them admirable models. Furthermore, the emergence of the double usually portends imminent death for the original (and for the double)—the ultimate result of destructive rivalry, whereas the creation of clones promises longevity, or even a form of immortality, to the original, which is nonetheless in most cases revealed as unrealizable.

In some of the analyzed clone narratives, each clone is portrayed as no more than a particle in a colony of clones conditioned and indoctrinated to function first and foremost for the maintenance and solidification of his society. Such narratives foreground the nightmare of the loss of individuality. Unlike double narratives, clone narratives exhibit this loss as the outcome not of internal fragmentation, but of the erasure of differences between individuals. Despite this significant difference, eventually both double narratives and clone narratives challenge the Western conception of a separate and coherent self and the derived conceptions of moral agency and moral responsibility.

Yet even in this regard there is a fundamental difference between the major double narratives and some clone narratives: the split subjectivity in double narratives tends to signify instability, insanity, and ultimately even death both for the self and the other−as−double. In [→page 390] other words, the fragmentary self in such narratives cannot generate a complex unity, in which each of the fragments becomes a part of the whole, intricately connected to the other parts. Double narratives do not usually promise a new and better form of subjectivity. By contrast, some clone narratives, as the brief analysis of The Cloning of Joanna May demonstrates, trigger the clone(s) to reconsider the foundations of their identity and hence foster their sense of being autonomous subjects. Furthermore, clone narratives such as John Varley's "The Phantom of Kansas" (1997) and Michel Houellebecq's La possibilité d'une île (2005) (re)present alternative models of (post)human subjectivity and agency. Some of the imaginary worlds constructed in these narratives—whose survey requires a separate article (see Marcus forthcoming 2012)—illustrate these alternative models as a promising expansion of the perceptive and cognitive abilities of homo sapiens, whereas other imaginary worlds envision these models as heralding the diminution, or even the complete destruction, of human interactive and emotional faculties.

Beit Berl College and IDC Herzliya, Israel

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