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William Wilson


William Wilson is a short story by Edgar Allan Poe, first published in 1839, with a setting inspired by Poe's formative years on the outskirts of London. The narrator tells us that although the path to evil is commonly assumed to be a slippery slope, for him it was more of a steep and rapid decline – very suddenly, he found himself capable of acts of extreme depravity. This narrator – who assumes the name ‘William Wilson’ to conceal his real name – is recounting the events of the story from his deathbed. He recalls his childhood and schooldays in England, and how he commanded respect from his peers, with the exception of one boy, who, though no relation, bore the same Christian name and surname as him and had joined the school on the same day as the narrator. The narrator later learns that this other ‘William Wilson’ was also, spookily, born on the exact same day as him. They are also the same height. As he gets to know this other William Wilson better, the narrator comes to dislike him more and more, because of their resemblance, and because his doppelganger is fond of offering the narrator advice and patronage in an insinuating and arrogant manner. He even feels that he must have known his double at some point in the past – though he cannot remember having made his acquaintance before. You can listen online to free English audiobook “William Wilson” by Edgar Allan Poe on our website. Enjoy it!

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