The style was largely inaugurated by Nikolai Minsky 's article The Ancient Debate (1884) and Dmitry Merezhkovsky 's book On the Causes of the Decline and on the New Trends in Contemporary Russian Literature (1892). Both writers promoted extreme individualism and the act of creation. Merezhkovsky was known for his poetry as well as a series of novels on god-men , among whom he counted Christ, Joan of Arc , Dante , Leonardo da Vinci , Napoleon , and (later) Hitler . His wife, Zinaida Gippius , also a major poet of early symbolism, opened a salon in St Petersburg , which came to be known as the "headquarters of Russian decadence". Andrei Bely 's Petersburg (novel) a portrait of the social strata of the Russian capital, is frequently cited as a late example of Symbolism in 20th century Russian literature.
Joseph Conrad uses a doppelganger theme in his short story “ The Secret Sharer ”. In the story, “Laggatt”, ex-skipper of a ship, acts as a doppelganger of “The Captain”. “The Captain” discovers “Laggatt” swimming in the sea naked. He helps him come on board and gives him his clothes to wear. Both have similarities as well as dissimilarities. “Laggatt” who is full of calmness and self-confidence helps “The Captain” to get rid of his uncertainty and undue apprehensions. In fact, “Laggatt” is other self of “The Captain” that he has failed to discover until then.