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: The Double is a classic work of Russian fiction by Fyodor Dostoyevsky that centers on a government clerk who goes mad. It deals with the internal psychological struggle of its main character, Yakov Petrovich Golyadkin, who repeatedly encounters someone who is his exact double in appearance but confident, aggressive, and extroverted, characteristics that are the polar opposites to those of the toadying "pushover" protagonist. The Double centers on a government clerk who goes mad. It deals with the internal psychological struggle of its main character, Yakov Petrovich Golyadkin, who repeatedly encounters someone who is his exact double in appearance but confident, aggressive, and extroverted, characteristics that are the polar opposites to those of the toadying "pushover" protagonist. The motif of the novella is a doppelgänger (dvoynik). Golyadkin is a titular councillor. This is rank 9 in the Table of Ranks established by Peter the Great. As rank eight led to hereditary nobility, being a titular councillor is symbolic of a low-level bureaucrat still struggling to succeed. Golyadkin has a formative discussion with his Doctor Rutenspitz, who fears for his sanity and tells him that his behavior is dangerously antisocial. He prescribes "cheerful company" as the remedy. Golyadkin resolves to try this, and leaves the office. He proceeds to a birthday party for Klara Olsufyevna, the daughter of his office manager. He was uninvited, and a series of faux pas lead to his expulsion from the party. On his way home through a snowstorm, he encounters his double, who looks exactly like him. The following two thirds of the novel then deals with their evolving relationship. Double has been interpreted in a number of ways. Looking backwards, it is viewed as Dostoevsky's innovation on Gogol. Looking forwards, it is often read as a psychosocial version of his later ethical-psychological works. These two readings, together, position The Double at a critical juncture in Dostoevsky's writing at which he was still synthesizing what preceded him but also adding in elements of his own. One such element was that Dostoevsky switched the focus from Gogol's social perspective in which the main characters are viewed and interpreted socially to a psychological context that gives the characters more emotional depth and internal motivation. As to the interpretation of the work itself, there are three major trends in scholarship. First, many have said that Golyadkin simply goes insane, probably with schizophrenia. This view is supported by much of the text, particularly Golyadkin's innumerable hallucinations. Second, many have focused on Golyadkin's search for identity. One critic wrote that The Double's main idea is that "'the human will in its search for total freedom of expression becomes a self-destructive impulse.’" This individualistic focus is often contextualized by scholars, such as Joseph Frank, who emphasize that Golyadkin's identity is crushed by the bureaucracy and stifling society he lives in. The final context of understanding for The Double that transcends all three categories is the ongoing debate about its literary quality. While the majority of scholars have regarded it as somewhere from "too fragile to bear its significance" to utterly unreadable, there have been two notable exceptions. Dostoevsky wrote in A Writer's Diary that "Most decidedly, I did not succeed with that novel; however, its idea was rather lucid, and I have never expressed in my writings anything more serious. Still, as far as form was concerned, I failed utterly." Vladimir Nabokov, who generally regarded Dostoevsky as a "rather mediocre" writer called The Double "the best thing he ever wrote," saying that it is "a perfect work of art.