Literary Doppelgangers

Posted by @ 5:38 pm on March 10th, 2009


I’ve always thought J.D. Salinger looked like the young Al Pacino in The Godfather, so much so that when reading the former, I would hear ‘HOO-AH!’ sporadically inserted throughout the text. The Glass and Corleone families are very similar; both represent brilliant families slowly falling towards their demise.

And then there’s Leonard Cohen, circa his breathtaking Songs From A Room period. He is said to have written those songs in Hydra, a (then) primarily uninhabited Greek island without electricity.

This got me thinking about doppelgangers, which despite sounding like a kind of gang-bang, is strange since our visual notion of these men are through a stagnant set of photos. We share a collective ‘memory’ of famous people,  and I thought it might be fun to talk more about folks who are doppelgangers.



Ezra Pound reminds me of that old guy who was dying/died in Magnolia. I hear his damn cantos in that dry exasperated ‘oh god oh god’ voice. I’m not a fan of Pound (okay commenters, feel free to ‘go off’ on how you like Pound). I also didn’t like Magnolia — the whole thing was too hysterical; Short Cuts (incidentally my favorite movie of all time) was way better. But who cares, I’m talking about doppel gangbangers.


I’m not trying to be mean, but Saul Bellow kinda looks like Gollum. It seemed like Bellow found a ring of his own, writing well past the ‘natural limits’ of any writer.


Young William Faulkner shares a striking resemblence with conservative douche Sean Hannity — so much so that it’s polluted readings of Light in August with a film of smugness and political hyperbole: Young Lena Grove, a socialist, far along in her pregnancy (being black n’ all), marvels at how far she has come since running away from her home in Alabama, where Obama wants to tax people to death. Thanks Sean, at least the retarded Benjy Compson still reads as normal.


I don’t know what makes me more hungry, thinking about preparing the ‘Brodé Galeux d’Eysines’ french winter squash Bukowski’s face resembles, or acting out his sexual exploits. Either way, I’m lubing up with butter.

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