I just finished reading “The Thirteenth Tale” by Diane Setterfield. Ms. Setterfield did her PhD. on Andre Gide and uses a lot of his ideas in her writing. One is dedoublement, which is the ability to split oneself in two–one “self” that interacts and feels the world they live in, the other to stand back and observe. The observer-self can analyze in a detached way what is happening around them. It reminded me of a technique advocated in Sarah Susanka’s book, “The not so big life,” of developing a “watcher.” Susanka says, “The watcher is your partner in seeing through the obstacles to the calmer, more contented you that you’ve always known was there.” I have found this much easier to do lately because of this blog. Everything I do now, I find myself taking a step back and thinking, “Could I blog this? What would I say about it?” It’s an interesting concept that helps one be more in control of emotions and situations and make more rational, positive decisions.


About Gail

Genealogist, librarian, writer, traveler, Mormon
This entry was posted in Books, Life Lessons, Spirituality and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Dedoublement

  1. Vanessa says:

    hahah, “could I blog this?” that’s awesome…

  2. relbbircs says:

    Hi. I bought The Not So Big Life based on your comments and I love it. I decided to read it straight through, then go back and do the exercises. I did set up my notebook that she recommends.
    Part of my interest in dedoublement and “the watcher” in The Not So Big Life is a result of reading about the “spectator/participant” in A Practice of Mountains.

  3. relbbircs says:

    I am new to WordPress so not familiar with how it works. I apologize for being so slow to reply to your reply.

  4. relbbircs says:

    My apologies again. You were referring to reading A Practice of Mountains. It’s a wonderful book beautifully written. One quote from the book:
    “I and the way they looked back at me.” sustain as a spectator/participant. I do not remember the physical descriptions of mountains so much as how I happened to see them and the way they looked back at me.”
    spectator/participant…another version of dedoublement.
    By the way I liked The Thirteenth Tale very much.

    • Gail says:

      I couldn’t find a practice of mountains in my library—can you tell me who is the author?

      • Ben McCune says:

        Yes. I should have included more info. Andrea Mead Lawrence and Sara Burnaby.
        I.S.B.N. 0-87223-593-9 (trade paperback)
        ” 0-87223-641-2 (paperback) The version I have is a hardbound first ed. (1980 Publ. date)–Seaview Books, and no I.S.B.N. number is provided.
        It’s quite pricey for a used book. I got lucky and got it at a Goodwill store. Amazon has it from $58.41 to $545.95. The least expensive I found after checking Abe Books, & Ebay. is $30.79 on Ebay &
        You may know of other sources. I hope you can find a copy at a reasonable price. Probably 80% of the pages has some quoteworthy lines. I keep hoping it will be republished. The pages are falling out of the copy I have. I will write a little more about it during the weekend.

  5. Ben McCune says:

    Another possible is to try an interlibrary loan.

  6. Ben McCune says:

    Sarah Mead Lawrence was an Olympic skier. To this date the only American to win 2 gold medals in alpine skiing in a single winter Olympics.

  7. relbbircs says:

    Ben McCune or relbbircs writing. I lost track of you. Did you ever get the book?
    Are you a member of Goodreads? I just became active there lately.

  8. relbbircs says:

    Ben McCune or relbbircs writing. I lost track of you. Did you ever get the book?
    Are you a member of Goodreads? I just became active there lately.

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