Friday, January 23, 2009


At the Guardian, John Mullan lists 10 of the best identical twins in literature.

(Hmmmm, this would not be my list - I am not a fan of the Comedy of Errors! - and both the Cheerybles and Cor and Corin seem to me more along the lines of some of the few identical twins in literature that one can think of offhand rather than being in any more substantive sense the best! A book that should be on this list and isn't: Angela Carter's Wise Children. And I have a soft spot for Barbara Trapido's twins, too. It is not surprising that Mullan hasn't read Gina Frangello or Marcy Dermansky, but he would find both of those novels well worth his time also!)


  1. It turns out that there are a lot more famous parents of twins (in real life) than famous twins.

    Also, fraternal twins are more than twice as common as identical twins (but less fun for literary purposes, perhaps).

  2. My list would include the title characters of Donald Newlove's "Leo and Theodore" and "The Drunks" (which he later rejiggered as a single novel published, in paperback, as "Sweet Adversity) and the Capellos in "Pudd'nhead Wilson." Are the Jones brothers in Bruce Chatwin's "On the Black Hill" supposed to be identical? I can't remember.

    I'd also try to make room for the Peppermint sisters in Peter De Vries's "Consenting Adults, or the Duchess Will Be Furious." They might not technically count, since they're triplets, but it would probably be easier to just send one of them out of the room than try to make up a whole different list to fit them into.