Polly Dickson

Polly Dickson is working on a PhD in nineteenth-century French and German literature at Cambridge University, where she also completed a BA in French and German and an MPhil in European Literature. Her project focuses on the writings of E. T. A. Hoffmann and Honoré de Balzac. She tweets at @pollyletitia.


Madcaps and mad hatters: this piece stems from the feeling that there is something a little mad about a hat. Polly Dickson thinks about Magritte, and Carroll’s Hatter, and about seeing faces in things.

Butterflies, Mimesis and ‘The Double’

Richard Ayoade’s film ‘The Double’ (2013) -- based on the Dostoevsky novella of the same name -- showcases the modern Doppelgänger: a figure who stems from a mimetic crisis. Mimesis, the urge to copy, to reproduce – in art, in nature, in all social interaction – is a project haunted by its own failure, by all the bits that copying leaves out. Ayoade’s ‘double’ figures out these left-overs. He’s a perfect copy, and he’s everything that isn’t: a figure made of semblance and alterity in equal measure, anxious proof of the phoniness of social identity and all our concurrent fears of replaceability and double-talk.