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Ευρωπαϊκή Εταιρεία Νεοελληνικών Σπουδών

Γ΄ συνέδριο της Ευρωπαϊκής Εταιρείας Νεοελληνικών Σπουδών

Philothei Kolitsi

The theme of the “Double” in Contemporary Greek Women’s Writings: Rea Galanaki’s, Ο βίος του Ισμαήλ Φερίκ Πασά (1989) and Ioanna Karystiani’s, Κουστούμι στο χώμα (2000)”

This paper will examine two novels by contemporary Greek Women Writers written at the end of the 20th century, concentrating on the theme of the double, also known as the second self, a relatively unexplored issue in Modern Greek Literature. The double, a favorite literary device among the Romantic writers of the 19th century, is “a second self or alter ego, which appears as a distinct and separate being, apprehensible [sic] by the physical senses, but exists in a dependent relation to the original.”[1] I will concentrate on the use of certain motifs that one commonly finds in tales of the double (typology of the double), pointing out the alterations and subversions detected in these two novels. Otto Rank’s study on The Double,[2] together with the works of Robert Rogers[3] and C. F. Keppler,[4] all of them informed by a psychoanalytic critical perspective, constitute the theoretical axis of my approach.


I. Ioanna Karystiani, Κουστούμι στο χώμα (2000): double as a medium of investigating a social phenomenon

In Karystiani’s novel, the main character, Kyriakos Rousias, is a Researcher of Medicine at the National Cancer Institute, Frederick, U.S.A. At the age of fourteen, Kyriakos was sent by his father to America to escape the repercussions of a Cretan family vendetta that goes back three generations; subsequently, for many years, he immersed himself in his work, to forget his past and escape from his destiny. At the age of forty-three, he realizes that he cannot deny reality for ever and decides to return to his homeland, and face the past and most importantly his own self. The second significant character of the story is the hero’s cousin, also named Kyriakos Rousias and often referred to in the novel as “the short” (ο κοντός).[5] In the past, the latter murdered the hero’s father, who had in turn murdered the cousin’s twin brother. As a result, at present, the main hero has to fulfill his ethical obligation and murder his cousin in revenge.

The cousin can be considered Kyriakos Rousias’ double. Critics have suggested various categories of the double, distinguishing between a) a similarity in physical appearance or rather a duplication (such as shadow, mirror image, portrait, identical person, twin brother), which usually co-exists with an opposition in character, and b) a reverse correspondence in character (opposition or complementarity) without any physical identification or connection, which makes the two figures two halves of one entity. These two types have been described respectively as (i) manifest and latent double (Robert Rogers, 1970, p. 4), (ii) physical and psychic dualism (C. F. Keppler, 1972, p. 186), or (iii) proper double and quasi-double (John Herdman, 1990, pp. 14-15). In Karystiani’s novel the cousin is partly the hero’s duplicate (physical dualism or manifest double) in terms of name and blood relation, but mainly his opposite (psychic dualism or latent double) in terms of appearance and personality.

Before proceeding to the discussion of the theme of the double in this novel, it is important to quote Otto Rank, who summarizes the recurrent features in the tales of the double, as follows:

Apart from the figure of the double, which takes the form of various types, all these tales exhibit a series of coinciding motifs (…) We always find a likeness which resembles the main character down to the smallest particulars (…) Always, too, this double works at cross-purposes with its prototype; and as a rule, the catastrophe occurs in the relationship with a woman, predominantly ending in suicide by way of the death intended for the irksome persecutor. In a number of instances this situation is combined with a thoroughgoing persecutory delusion (…) (1971, p. 33)[6]

Elsewhere in his study Rank points out the hero’s “inability to love” (p. 71) and his deep sense of “guilt,”[7] both related to the narcissistic (and therefore guilty) love for one’s self and the resistance to this love, while C. F. Keppler underlines “a certain strange affinity”, co-existing with “a dynamic tension” between the hero and his double (1972, p. 11). Focusing upon the main points, one may deduce a predominantly Rankian typology of the double, encompassing the following motifs:

  • love-hate relationship and an uncanny affinity between the hero and his double
  • persecution of the hero by his double
  • the hero’s inability to love
  • the hero’s deep sense of guilt
  • catastrophe that usually occurs because of a woman, the shared object of desire between the hero and his double 
  • final confrontation between the hero and his double (usually because of a woman) and murder of the double by the hero, which effectively proves to be the hero’s suicide.[8]

In Κουστούμι στο χώμα the two Rousiades are bound together with inescapable bonds of ‘blood’ and are by birth and family history ‘destined’ to confront each other:

(…) ο ξάδερφος Κυριάκος Ρουσιάς με τα πέντε κολυβογράμματα και τις πέντε κατσίκες, ισοβίως φέρων τον τίτλο του φονιά, είχε γίνει κάτι σαν ο κρυφός δίδυμός του, είχαν το ίδιο αίμα, και χίλιους λόγους να υπάρχουν ο ένας για τον άλλον. (pp. 368-9)[9]

Kyriakos Rousias follows, watches over, and haunts his cousin, becoming a real threat for the latter’s life. Nevertheless, through a metaphorical perspective, it is the main hero who is haunted by his double, a constant reminder of death and remorse.

Kyriakos Rousias’ frequent silences reveal his anxious and turbulent state of mind. During the novel he feels guilty, not because of a certain action he did which he now tries to project upon his double (as Otto Rank points out), but for not performing his revengeful duty; the encounter with his cousin intensifies this feeling. Besides, at the end of the novel, we are led to conclude that he has also a more substantiated share in overall guilt, not a ‘guilt of doing’ but a ‘guilt of knowing’. In the past he had suspected two murders and did nothing to prevent them.[10]

As it frequently happens with the main character in a double story, Kyriakos Rousias is incapable of love, a feature pointing to the narcissistic origins of the theme of the double.[11] However, the narrative often refers to Maro, the young girl that Kyriakos lost forever, when his father sent him to America. Paradoxically Maro is/was the object of desire for both cousins; being the adolescent, unrequited love of Kyriakos, she later became his cousin’s wife. However, Kyriakos’ once idolized love has now become the “dead woman” (η νεκρή), who wanders around the village half-mad in her noisy wooden slippers:

Ο Ρουσιάς άργησε να λοξοκοιτάξει και άναυδος να δει τη μαύρη ελιά σα δάκρυ στη γάμπα της νεκρής (… ) Την κοιτούσε την άκουγε, ήταν η ίδια, ήταν άλλη, μια άγνωστη μα και η γνωστή φιγούρα που φυλούσε νυχτερινή βάρδια στην ταράτσα, η γυναίκα που οι παντοφλιές της στην άσφαλτο έκαναν πιο πολύ κρότο από εκπυρσοκροτήσεις και έγιναν για κείνον ο ήχος του Αυγούστου. (pp. 303-304)

Kyriakos Rousias cannot become a murderer; neither can he remain a “fugitive” for the rest of his life. The last act of the familial tragedy, during which the two Rousiades will put an end to the series of deaths, takes place at a churchyard (Παναγιά των Αιγών), uncannily the exact location where the first death of the family occurred (simply an accident mis-interpreted as a murder). The time (day) is also symbolic; it is the midnight between the 14th and 15th of August, the Greek Orthodox feast in veneration of the Virgin Mary, a symbol of love and suffering. When they eventually do meet they are both holding guns. However, they don’t use them, but talk over a «τσικουδιά», whilst inviting the souls of the dead. The decisive confrontational scene ends in reconciliation between the hero and his double:

Κατέβασαν τις δυο τσικουδιές, την τρίτη ο κοντός την έχυσε στα χλιαρά βοτσαλάκια, τα ποτήρια ξαναγέμισαν και ξαναάδειασαν με τον ίδιο τρόπο, από δυο άντρες, που, ας έκρυβε η νύχτα τα μισά, δεν έλεγαν να κοιταχτούν κατά πρόσωπο, σαν να είχαν σφραγιστεί από τα παλιά (...), εξίσου ο κρημνοδίαιτος ζουμπάς και ο κάτοχος του Lasker, οι μόνοι αρσενικοί Ρουσιάδες, οι τελευταίοι.
Γι αυτή τη νύχτα ήρθα πίσω, είπε απλά ο ψηλός και μέσα του ένιωθε ήδη καλύτερα.  (pp. 268-269).


II. Rea Galanaki, Ο βίος του Ισμαήλ Φερίκ Πασά (1989): double as a device of exploring ‘identity’ and ‘otherness’

Galanaki’s novel recounts the story of a young Cretan boy (Emmanouel Kambanis Papadakis), who was captured by the Ottomans-Egyptians in the 19th century, raised in the house of Muhammad Ali in Egypt, together with his son Ibrahim, and promoted to the rank of pasha, with the name Ismail Ferik Pasha. A cave outside his Cretan village, symbolically representing a womb and bearing the last fond memories of his dear mother, becomes the place of the end of his first life and rebirth of his second. His brother, Antonis, having himself also experienced the trauma of captivity and having suffered the loss of his entire family, manages to escape and initially ventures to Constantinople, then onto Russia, eventually ending up in Athens. Many years later the two brothers make contact again and start frequent correspondence with each other. In the end Ismail undertakes his duty to lead the Ottoman-Egyptian army against his Cretan village, in order to suppress the Cretan revolution of 1866-68 that is in fact financed by his brother. However, he dies in the final battle, very close to the family’s old house. At the same time, Ibrahim, his Egyptian foster brother, who had died young a few years earlier, heigthening Ismail’s sense of loss and loneliness, returns in the form of a shadow, following Ismail on the last days before his death in Crete.

In Galanaki’s novel, the theme of the double appears in a quite sophisticated form. First of all, the main hero, Ismail Ferik Pasha, is an example of double existence,denoting, “the representationally opposite form of expression of the same psychic constellation”, when “one and the same person” is separated into “two distinct beings”.[12] Ismail is, in this case, divided into two selves, both having unique identities and separate lives (two names, two families, two religions, two countries). His “first life” suffered a “violent death”, which was followed by a “violent re-birth” into his Egyptian life, only to experience since then the agony of an imminent second death. Ismail could never reconcile his two lives and selves. His Egyptian life has been firmly grounded on the   external, factual world, providing him with good education and unique opportunities to pursue a military career at the side of Ibrahim; it is thus linked to the “symbolic order” of paternal power (social, political, military).[13] Conversely, his Greek life has been secretly preserved in his memory in the form of repressed images, a dream-like, imaginary world, directly connected to his mother. His “second life” amounts to the conscious experience of adulthood, whilst his first one to the suppressed, almost subconscious memory of childhood. Therefore, Ismail’s Egyptian conscious life may be linked with the self whilst his Greek subconscious life may be linked with the double.[14] When he decides to lead the Egyptian army against his Cretan village the “invisible” world abruptly invades the “visible” world, a process that may be described as the “return of the repressed”, or, to use Galanaki’s words, the “revolution of Greek images” (η επανάσταση των εικόνων, p. 71).

However, the theme of the double in this novel can be further explored, as each one of Ismail’s two selves has its own double, representing the fully developed character that each one of the hero’s selves would have become, if the division of the self had not taken place. The first double is his older brother Antonis, who funded the struggle for the liberation of Crete and the second, the shadow of his dead Egyptian friend and foster-brother, Ibrahim, who fought for the occupied lands and the pride of the Ottoman-Egyptians. We shall discuss in more detail Ismail’s first double and then briefly his second double.

Ismail’s Egyptian self and his double

Between the two brothers there is a natural family-like resemblance (hence, Ismail and Antonis could be considered as physical duplicates); however, they can be also viewed as opposites in terms of their beliefs, actions and commitment towards their homeland, the first being the “benefactor” and the second being the “conqueror”. It is worth mentioning that the double of Ismail’s conscious Egyptian self is a real person. 

Antonis in a way haunts Ismail (by trying to get in contact with him) and eventually sends their cousin Ioannis Kambanis to meet him, the latter labelled in the text as a messenger of death (αγγελιοφόρος θανάτου). According to Otto Rank the double has been created in order to protect the self (hero) from the fear of death, but eventually appears as a “messenger of death”, since the double’s destruction will automatically mean the hero’s self-destruction.[15] In Galanaki’s novel Ioannis Kambanis (Ismail’s cousin with a physical resemblance to him) attempts to bring Ismail in contact with his brother Antonis, which becomes the beginning of Ismail’s downfall. Therefore, although his presence appears to be positive and benevolent it will eventually lead to Ismail’s death, thus making Ioannis a “messenger of death”. Concerning the relationship between Ismail and Antonis, they are enemies, while at the same time they sincerely express tender brotherly feelings for each other. Especially Ismail’s feelings for Antonis are so profound and fervent that the latter is presented almost as a substitute for their lost mother, the quintessence of love and bliss in Ismail’s memory and imagination: 

Ο Ισμαήλ σκέφτηκε ότι ποτέ δεν είχε αγγίξει γυναίκα στο χαρέμι με το απεγνωσμένο πάθος που τον άγγιξε το φιλί του Αντώνη. Επέστρεψε το φιλί ταραγμένος. Ένιωσε πάλι το μάγουλο του αδερφού, εξίσου μαλακό με της μητέρας και τον ιδρώτα της αιχμαλωσίας να μυρίζει γάλα. Τα μάτια γέμισαν δάκρυα κι έκλεισε τα βλέφαρα. Συλλογίστηκε τη μητέρα του σ’ ένα ηλιόλουστο δωμάτιο. (p. 70)[16]

At specific points during the novel, Ismail’s immense sense of guilt is totally justified (for having caused pain and death to his compatriots); however the guilt mentioned on the first pages of the narrative, when Ismail “provoked his destiny”, by entering the “forbidden cave” (p. 17) implies an undefined dark-oedipal ‘crime’ with Freudian nuances (since the cave alludes to his mother), which is subsequently “punished” (permanent loss of his mother). 

The relationship with his mother that Ismail had as a child decisively marked the rest of his life. One could even say that Ismail’s object of desire is his mother, an object permanently lost into the domain of dreams, myths and the unconscious, as the three versions of her death testify.[17] Moreover, the lost love of his mother became a serious obstacle in his later emotional/sexual development. Therefore, whilst the novel is replete with his mother’s presence, it refers only sporadically and superficially to Ismail’s new Egyptian family (his hanoum-wives and his children), any potential love scene being absent throughout the novel:

(…) καμιά από τις τρεις εκδοχές για την τύχη της μάνας του δεν θα του επέτρεπε  ούτε και στην υπόλοιπη ζωή του ν’ αγγίξει άφοβα το γυναικείο σώμα. (p. 21)

Ismail’s object of desire (his mother) is gradually sublimated into Motherland that can be also considered as a symbolic substitute for his mother.
Apart from their physical resemblance, Antonis also shares with Ismail a deep sense of solitude, which implies refusal or incapability of love. He never gets married and remains until the end of the narrative a celibate. The love for his family is eventually replaced by the love for his homeland and his loyalty to the oath he has taken for the liberation of his country.

According to Rankian typology the final confrontation and catastrophe between the hero and his double occurs because of a woman. More specifically, discussing the brotherly relationship, Rank speaks of the “sibling complex”, that is the rivalry between two brothers for the love of their mother. (1971, pp. 75-76). In our novel the rivalry between the two brothers does not involve the conquest of their mother, but her symbolic substitute, Motherland. Besides, their final confrontation is indirect. Antonis is physically absent from the place of action (battlefield), although he is metaphorically present, by funding the Cretan revolt against the Ottoman-Egyptian rule and also by being continuously present in Ismail’s mind. Therefore, when Ismail is injured in the battle, he speaks of Antonis’ murderous bullet («φονικό βόλι του Αντώνη»).

However, Ismail’s alleged death in the battle is only one version amongst three. Galanaki’s fictional version of ending is Ismail’s suicide, when, inside his home, after burning Antonis’ letters, he stabs himself with a knife, the only Cretan item he carried with him throughout his Egyptian life.[18] Besides, it is worth mentioning two other narrative incidents: Antonis’ dream, depicting the family’s reunion (p. 85) and Ismail’s ritualistic return to his home, a dream-like scene of inviting his parents and brother («νέκυια», pp. 170-177); although these two scenes do not refer directly to Ismail’s death, they portray the two brothers’ deepest wishes about the reconciliation and union of the family.

Ismail’s Greek self and his double

Ismail has also a second double in the novel, Ibrahim. This time, the double of Ibrahim’s sub-conscious Greek self is a hallucination that appears when the hero is gradually being ‘re-hellenized’. Ibrahim seemingly pursues and watches over him, when Ismail is about to betray his Muslim-Egyptian side. Thus, Ibrahim can be viewed as personifying Ismail’s sense of guilt for his second country.

The object of claim between the two friends is again homeland. Ibrahim attempts to remind Ismail that he has to claim Crete for the sake of Egypt, at the moment that Ismail seems to be drawn back to his first (and only) Motherland, Crete. Ismail’s feelings toward Ibrahim are ambivalent and contradictory, oscillating between love and hatred. He had dearly and deeply loved his Egyptian friend and foster-brother, to the extent of considering him to be another substitute for his lost mother; however, he had also hated him, for never acknowledging or attempting to comprehend his Greek side.

Και τον μίσησα τότε, πρώτη φορά κι ακέραια, ότι ποτέ δεν θέλησε να δει το παλιό μου φθινόπωρο, ενώ εγώ του είχα δοθεί. (p. 119)
Αυτός υπήρξε η μητέρα της δεύτερης ζωής μου, και μου το θύμισε πάλι αδιαφορώντας ολότελα για την πρώτη. (pp. 159-160)

At some point Ismail throws stones at Ibrahim’s shadow to push him away, and injures him. This scene can be considered as another confrontational scene, this time between the hero and his second double. Ibrahim re-appears to Ismail the last night before the critical battle and Ismail tries for the first time to share his past Greek experience with his friend. When Ismail stops talking, he realizes that all the way through he has been speaking in his mother tongue, Greek. The communication Ismail had hoped for was not possible to attain.


III. Alterations and subversions of the theme of the double

Although most of the typical features of the Rankian typology of the Double are either implicitly or explicitly present in both novels, it is very interesting to examine their variations and subversions.

This literary device, which is Romantic in origin and initially was used as a means for the exploration of individual psychology, in both Greek novels, written at the end of the 20th century, is inscribed in a social context, thus acquiring a broader meaning. In Karystiani’s work it is linked to the social phenomenon of Cretan vendetta; hence, the conflict between the two Rousiades is on the one hand internal and personal and on the other social and particularly local in its perspective. It is a conflict between a dark, paternal superego,[19] which –through the double– demands allegiance to the tradition of «αυτοδικία» and revenge, whilst the self represents a modern, more humane worldview and behaviour. Interestingly, the superego (usually the upholder of law and ethics) here is cruel, primitive and evil.[20] Due to his nature and upbringing Kyriakos challenges this paternal law, not without feeling guilty; however he realizes that if he had stayed in Crete, he could have become a murderer himself, even against his own will. (p. 375).[21] The moral element of the theme of the double (good vs. evil) that John Herdman pinpoints[22] is preserved, although it is portrayed through a culturally localised point of view. Moreover, the conscious/ subconscious opposition is in a way present, the hero representing the external, successful social life and the double standing for the repressed guilt and the long overdue familial duty.

In Galanaki’s novel the theme of the double, while preserving its personal and subjective character, is also interwoven with the national struggle for the liberation of Motherland (Crete). Besides, it investigates the contemporary issues of identity, otherness (national, religious and linguistic), cultural difference and hybridity, the conflict between the two selves depicting on the one hand the external, social and objective and on the other the internal, personal and subjective. As a result, Ismail’s two selves cannot be judged in terms of good and evil. Moreover, the hero’s duality is his permanent attribute from the beginning to the end of the novel. From this respect the novel expressively portrays the modern subject that remains for ever divided and unreconciled with one’s self.

Contrary to Poe’s “William Wilson” where the hero, in trying to escape from his double,  wanders from one country to another, with the final confrontation between them taking place abroad, in both Greek novels it occurs in the hero’s home country. This presupposes the deliberate nostos of Kyriakos and the inescapable nostos of Ismail, imposed upon him because of his circumstances. The internal journey of these two modern Ulysseses becomes ultimately a search for the self, transforming the double story, as C. F. Keppler points out, into “an instrument of self-exploration and self-realization”, a “Bildungsroman”.[23] In each of the Greek novels the hero reaches maturity, after the confrontation with his double(s). The element of nostos, together with the personal Odyssey of the two heroes, can be regarded as a further enrichment of the theme of the double. Moreover, homeland acquires a different meaning in the two texts: Ismail returns to Motherland (the place of Paradise-like bliss, motherly love, union and harmony), whilst Kyriakos Rousias returns to Fatherland[24] (dominated by the strict paternal law, which demands preservation of the family honor, blood and revenge).

The reconciliation between Kyriakos and his cousin replaces the imminent catastrophe of the self by the double; hence, Rankian typology is completely subverted in Κουστούμι στο χώμα . The two Rousiades make peace; all ends are rounded and a catharsis is finally attained. In Ο βίος του Ισμαήλ Φερίκ Πασά , Ismail’s multiple versions of death portray an open, indefinite (and postmodern) ending. Furthermore, the Rankian confrontation motif, where the hero murders his double, only to find out that he has committed suicide, can be viewed as being slightly altered (the double is responsible for the death of the hero) and “decomposed” into the two versions of Ismail’s death (death in battle by Antonis’ bullet and Ismail’s suicide). At the same time both Ismail and Antonis express a deep desire for family reunion, which can be taken as implicitly denoting a particular kind of reconciliation and catharsis.[25]

The role of the woman in the story is also altered in both narratives. In the first work the object of love (Maro) is completely desexualized; throughout the novel she is referred to as “the dead woman”. In the second work the object of desire is mother, which is later replaced by Motherland. Thus, the love contest between the hero and his double is transformed into a national battle for the liberation of Motherland.

Finally, in both Greek novels the heroes and their doubles are male characters. However, both heroes constitute, to an extent, a partial subversion of the male stereotype (physical strength, dominance, etc.), as they also exhibit a ‘feminine side’ together with their ‘masculine side’. Ismail is experienced in war and has received good education (his masculine side); however, he is often lost in a dreamy, mystical and mythical world. Kyriakos, although he is an internationally renowned scientist, having already achieved social success and professional recognition (his masculine side), he is a fugitive from his past, his country, his family and his own self.  

To conclude: In the work of both these Greek women writers, we detect certain deviations and subversions of the particular motifs of the double, as compared with works written by male authors in the 19th century, which enrich the theme of the double and broaden its meaning and perspective. Besides, some of the already discussed alterations of the theme may be linked to feminine aesthetics and values, a topic potentially suitable for research in its own right.


Calotychos Vangelis, “Thorns in the Side of Venice? Galanaki’s Pasha and Pamuk’s White Castle in the Global Market”, in Dimitris Tziovas (ed.) Greek Modernism and Beyond, Lanham – New York – Boulder – Oxford, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 1997, pp. 243-260.
Galanaki Rea, «Επιλογικά σχόλια στο μυθιστόρημα Ο βίος του Ισμαήλ Φερίκ Πασά», «Βασιλεύς ή Στρατιώτης»: Σημειώσεις, σκέψεις, σχόλια για τη λογοτεχνία, Αθήνα, Άγρας, 1997, pp. 13-60.
Herdman John, The Double in Nineteenth-Century Fiction, Houndmills, Macmillan, 1990.
Keppler C. F., the Literature of the Second Self, Tucson – Arizona, The University of Arizona Press, 1972.
Lacan Jacques, “The Mirror Stage as Formative of the Function of the I as Revealed in Psychoanalytic Experience”, EcritsA Selection, translated from the French by Alan Sheridan, London, Tavistock Publications, 1977.
Rank Otto, The Double: A Psychoanalytic Study (translated and edited, with an Introduction by Harry Tucker, Jr), New York, London and Scarborough, Ontario, The University of North Carolina Press – Meridian, 1971.
Rogers Robert, A Psychoanalytic Study of the Double in Literature, Detroit, Wayne State University Press, 1970.
Yannakaki Eleni, “History as fiction in Rea Galanaki’s The life of Ismail Ferik Pasha”, Κάμπος : Cambridge Papers in Modern Greek, no 2 (edited by David Holton and Joselyn Pye), Cambridge, University of Cambridge, 1994, pp. 121-141.


Philothei Kolitsi


[1] See John Herdman, The Double in Nineteenth-Century Fiction, Houndmills, Macmillan, 1990, p. 14.

[2] Otto Rank (The Double: A Psychoanalytic Study,translated and edited, with an Introduction by Harry Tucker, Jr, New York, London and Scarborough, Ontario, The University of North Carolina Press – Meridian, 1971) explores the psychogenic origins of the concept of the double, by associating it with Freudian narcissism and death-wish. What is of particular interest to us is the fact that Rank investigates the theme of the double in relation to literary works and mythological material.

[3] Robert Rogers (A Psychoanalytic Study of the Double in Literature, Detroit, Wayne State University Press, 1970) widely discusses the “decomposition” of one character into two (the hero and his double) or more doubles, adopting a Freudian point of view.

[4] C. F. Keppler (The Literature of the Second Self, Tucson – Arizona, The University of Arizona Press, 1972) elaborates a Jungian approach, viewing the double not as a fundamentally evil side of a man (even in cases when the double is evidently ‘bad’) but as a narrative device that leads to the hero’s self-realization. This paper also takes into consideration John Herdman’s work (see fn 1), which examines the theme of the double, associating it with the philosophical and theological quests of 19th century Romanticism and Christian metaphysics (the internal conflict of the believer between two minds or two wills).

[5] From now on the name Kyriakos Rousias will refer to the main character of the novel, whilst the second Kyriakos Rousias will be referred to as the cousin or “the short”.

[6] Otto Rank uses, among others, Poe’s short story “William Wilson” (1839) and Dostoesky’s novel The Double (1846) as his model texts.

[7]According to Otto Rank (1971, p. 76) “a powerful consciousness of guilt (…) forces the hero no longer to accept responsibility for certain actions of his ego but to place it upon another ego”.

[8] These main features of a story of a double bring to mind the ancient Greek myth of twin brothers Aloadae, Otus and Ephialtes. They were handsome, strong and aggressive giants, fifty-four feet at age nine and according to a prophecy they could not perish neither by the hand of a man nor by that of a god. They both committed hubris when they took an oath to Styga that they would conquer Artemis and Hera, and that they would climb up to the sky, by using the mountains as a staircase. In a love contest for goddess Artemis, she transformed herself into a doe and jumped between them and, as they threw their spears to kill it, they killed each other. See I. Th. Kakridis, Ελληνική Μυθολογία – vol . II, Αθήνα, Εκδοτική Αθηνών, 1986, pp. 42-44.

[9] Ioanna Karystiani, Κουστούμι στο χώμα, Αθήνα, Καστανιώτης, 2000.

[10] In this ‘bloody’ homeland, language plays a particularly distorting role. It cannot deliver the truth; it only causes misunderstandings and stirs up passions. Therefore, people do not trust language, and prefer silence instead (pp. 53 and 346).

[11] An illustrating example of a narcissistic hero and his double is the central character in Oscar Wilde’s The Portrait of Dorian Gray (1891).

[12] See Otto Rank, 1971, pp. 19-20. A well-known literary example of a double life can be found in Stevenson’s novel The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1886).

[13] The Lacanian term “symbolic order” denotes the induction of the child into the social world of linguistic communication, inter-subjective relations and ideological conventions. The dominant figure of the father represents cultural norms, laws, language and power (“Name-of-the-Father”). See Jacques Lacan, “The Mirror Stage as Formative of the Function of the I as Revealed in Psychoanalytic Experience”, EcritsA Selection, translated from the French by Alan Sheridan, London, Tavistock Publications, 1977, pp. 1-7.

[14] The conscious/ subconscious (or unconscious) division between the hero and his double is a common feature in literary doubles. According to Robert Rogers the double represents what the hero (and eventually the author) does not want to accept as part of him that is his dark, unconscious side. For instance, in Dostoevsky’s The Double, Golyadkin Jr (the double) represents qualities that Golyadkin (the hero) “hates in himself and attributes he lacks and desires to have” (see R. Rogers, 1970, p. 17).

[15] The death-wish towards the double arises from the self’s deep desire to evade death; thus the double has been created to suffer death, whilst the self remains intact. See Otto Rank, 1971, p. 86.

[16] Rea Galanaki, Ο βίος του Ισμαήλ Φερίκ Πασά – Spina Nel Cuore, Αθήνα, Άγρας, 1989.

[17] It is interesting to note that both Antonis and Ibrahim function for Ismail as substitutes for his lost mother. Furthermore, the Greek language and water are also presented in the text as symbolic substitutes for Ismail’s mother.

[18] The third version of his death, outside the double typology, is Ismail being poisoned by the Egyptians, as they suspected his ambivalent attitude toward the Greeks.

[19] The Freudian tripartite “model of the psyche” is comprised of the ego, the id and the superego.

[20] Conversely, in Poe’s “William Wilson”, the hero’s double is a benevolent superego, the voice of conscience that tries to protect and save the hero fron corruption and downfall.

[21] Paradoxically enough this paternal ‘law’ is preserved and reproduced by the female figures in a family (mother, grandmother), prompting their sons and husbands to commit an ethically ‘justified’ murder (pp. 187, 234). Such an attitude expresses an internalization of the paternal law by the women.

[22] John Herdman (1990, p. 4) attributes the emergence of the theme of the double to the concept of moral duality in Western Christian tradition.

[23] See C. F. Keppler, 1972, pp.195 and 208.

[24] I use the words Motherland and Fatherland simply to indicate in the first case an imaginary place in Ismail’s mind, replete with blissful memories of the Body-of-the-Mother and in the second case a symbolic place in Kyriakos’ mind, dominated by the imposing Name-of-the-Father.

[25] As Ismail’s Greek self is gaining momentum inside him, Ismail thinks that the idea of Egypt as a “second lost homeland” is intensely saddening for him. He could not afford having two lost homelands, the last one being associated with his adulthood (p. 137). Hence, one may conclude, that, in spite of his genuine and tragic duality, Ismail’s lost Motherland is Crete, firmly linked to his childhood and his mother. However, it is noteworthy that, although the whole text emphasizes the irretrievable loss of Ismail’s mother (and hence the possibility of innocence and bliss, once experienced and now imaginary, close to the Body-of-the-Mother), Ismail’s textual and Galanaki’s extra-textual comment indicate that there is no possibility of innocence or return: «Το μυαλό του έλαμψε ξαφνικά και κατανόησε ότι δεν υπάρχει, ούτε και υπήρξε κάτι τόσο αθώο, ώτσε να χαθεί. Άρα πως δεν υπάρχει ούτε και ποτέ υπήρξε επιστροφή.» (Ο βίος του Ισμαήλ Φερίκ Πασά, p.197.) «Η επίγνωση του Ισμαήλ ότι δεν υπάρχει κάτι τόσο αθώο ώστε να χαθεί – κι ότι επομένως δεν υπάρχει επιστροφή σε μια χαμένη αθωότητα (...) προκαλεί σύμφωνα με τη δική μου εκδοχή την αυτοκτονία του Ισμαήλ.» (Rea Galanaki, «Επιλογικά σχόλια στο μυθιστόρημα Ο βίος του Ισμαήλ Φερίκ Πασά», Βασιλεύς ή Στρατιώτης – Σημειώσεις, σκέψεις, σχολια για τη λογοτεχνία, Αθήνα, Άγρας, 1997, p. 60.)