The Columbia Journal of Literary Criticism is seeking pitches and essays for its 2023 issue to be published in the spring. Writers should either be current undergraduates or recent graduates submitting undergraduate work.
Founded in 2002, CJLC acts as an interdisciplinary, undergraduate forum centered around literature, culture, and politics. The journal is published once a year and includes articles, reviews, interviews, and original artwork. CJLC attempts to examine the world around us in a way that is informed by academic thought but not subsumed by it.
Pitches: Please email [email protected] with an outline of your article and a proposed/provisional bibliography. Please include your name, university and year of graduation. If we like the pitch, we’ll contact you to set a deadline and work with you throughout the writing process.
Essays: You are welcome to submit an article, or essay to be converted into an article, to the same address. Please attach your essay as a word document, and include your name, university, and year of graduation in the body of the email. You are welcome to submit an essay from a previous course, granted that the essay or an adaptation has not been published elsewhere.
Submissions are due February 2nd, but you are very welcome to submit earlier.
Before submitting, please take a look at our past issues to get a sense for what we publish: http://c-j-l-c.org/archive/
The forthcoming issue will explore the theme of the DOUBLE. We are looking forward to receiving pieces that explore and challenge the meaning of the double and its accompanying meanings.
“Every good quality has its bad side, and nothing that is good can come into the world without directly producing a corresponding evil,” said Carl Jung. “This is a painful fact.”
The double is a fascinating site of intersection for many literary symbols. The word “double” has many points of origin. It originates from the Latin duplus that relates to being “twofold” or “twice as much.” It also has a root in the Old French doble, circa 13th century, which refers to the quality of being “twice as much or as large” and of possessing “extra weight, thickness, size, or strength; of [possessing] two layers.” In the fourteenth century, the meaning extended to possessing a “twofold character or relation,” as well as existing in a “set together; being a pair, coupled.” Being “duplicitous” also emerged in the lexicon. In his 1796 novel Siebenkäs, Jean Paul defines doppelgänger (literal translation “double-goer”) as “the name for people who see themselves.” It is in the wake of these histories that we consider the double as both a psychoanalytic tool and an instrument of genre.
With these etymologies in mind, the word “double” can be seen as duplicitous in itself: to be “double” is a state or quality of someone or something—for example a piece of paper that is twice as thick—but to be double is also to belong to a whole, as part of an equal pair. In this regard, the “double” is permanently grounded in the relative: it always begs the question of what the “twiceness” is doubled from, and what the other part of the double is. If the state of being “double” demands this “twiceness,” then the possibilities for what its two-foldedness inspires arise.
In Symposium, Plato argues that humans were separated into halves fated to wander the earth searching for each other. The Gothic double takes inspiration from the Irish folklore of the fetch, an apparition of a living person’s double which signals their impending demise. And, of course, when one looks in a mirror, one sees one’s double—reversed.
Dostoevsky wrote The Double about a man who encounters his doppelganger, who is first his friend, then begins to take over his life. In The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde, Dorian’s portrait functions as his double, which he delights in seeing the increasing contrast between it and his actual self. Finally, in Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre, the eponymous heroine and the character Bertha are also established as doubles: Bertha channels a repressed version of Jane who is hidden in her normal compartment.
Similarly, the Burns twins are used in the Shining to add to the sinister mood of the piece, with their identical clothes yet slightly different build invoking the Freudian uncanny. Doubleness is also a prominent theme in Satoshi Kon’s Perfect Blue, in which the pop idol-turned-actress Mima is haunted by Virtual Mima, who impersonates her in an online diary Mima’s Room and constantly harasses the real Mima in her daily life.
Doubleness is also used in literary form: rhymes double the sounds of words, and couplets isolate verses in stanzas of two. All this can be found between the double covers of a physical book.
Feel free to explore, challenge, or complicate any of these ideas. We prioritize literary criticism submissions, but we welcome other forms of criticism as well. We look forward to your toil and trouble.
You may send any questions you have to [email protected].