The Spectacle of Twins in American Literature and Popular Culture


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About the Book

The cultural fantasy of twins imagines them as physically and behaviorally identical. Media portrayals consistently offer the spectacle of twins who share an insular closeness and perform a supposed alikeness—standing side by side, speaking and acting in unison.
Treating twinship as a cultural phenomenon, this first comprehensive study of twins in American literature and popular culture examines the historical narrative—within the discourses of experimentation, aberrance and eugenics—and how it has shaped their representations in the 20th and 21st centuries.

About the Author(s)

Karen Dillon teaches literature and writing at Blackburn College in Carlinville, Illinois, where she specializes in American and African-American literature. She lives in Carlinville.

Bibliographic Details

Karen Dillon
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 204
Bibliographic Info: 15 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2018
pISBN: 978-1-4766-6696-9
eISBN: 978-1-4766-3386-2
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vi
Introduction: A History of Twins in the United States 1
One—“A Chill of Similitude”: Disturbing Likeness in Photographic and Literary Representations of Twins 19
Two—The Sexual Fantasy of Twins: Twincest and Triangulated Desire 50
Three—Keeping It in the Family: Twins and Race in William Melvin Kelley’s dem and Toni Morrison’s Paradise 68
Four—Twins as Goodwill Cultural Ambassadors: The Educational Goals of Lucy Fitch Perkins’s
Foreign Twins Series 98
Five—The Twin Companion: Twins Branding in Juvenile Media 116
Six—Wombmates for Life: Inside the Subculture of Twinship 133
Conclusion 168
Chapter Notes 171
Bibliography 183
Index 193