Mimesis, Desire, and the Novel
Rene Girard and Literary Criticism
Studies in Violence, Mimesis & Culture
Published by: Michigan State University Press
Imprint: Michigan State University Press
Fifty years after its publication in English, René Girard’s Deceit, Desire, and the Novel (1965) has never ceased to fascinate, challenge, inspire, and sometimes irritate, literary scholars. It has become one of the great classics of literary criticism, and the notion of triangular desire is now part of the theoretical parlance among critics and students. It also represents the genetic starting point for what has become one of the most encompassing, challenging, and far-reaching theories conceived in the humanities in the last century: mimetic theory. This book provides a forum for new generations of scholars and critics to reassess, challenge, and expand the theoretical and hermeneutical reach of key issues brought forward by Girard’s book, including literary knowledge, realism and representation, imitation and the anxiety of influence, metaphysical desire, deviated transcendence, literature and religious experience, individualism and modernity, and death and resurrection. It also provides a more extensive and detailed historical understanding of the representation of desire, imitation, and rivalry within European and world literature, from Dante to Proust and from Dickens to Jonathan Littell.
“This powerful collection of informed critical responses to René Girard’s seminal work—both to its central tenets and multiform applications—could not be more pressing in contemporary literary-cultural studies. Scholars across all the disciplines that Girard has interrogated will discover anew his key understanding: literature as theory is very much alive. “
—Mary Orr, Professor of French, Director of the Institute of Language and Culture, University of Southampton