Parting ways with the Freudian and Lacanian readings that have dominated recent scholarly understanding of Hitchcock, David Humbert examines the roots of violence in the director’s narratives and finds them not in human sexuality but in mimesis. Through an analysis of seven key films, he argues that Girard’s model of mimetic desire—desire oriented by imitation of and competition with others—best explains a variety of well-recognized themes, including the MacGuffin, the double, the innocent victim, the wrong man, the transfer of guilt, and the scapegoat. This study will appeal not only to Hitchcock fans and film scholars but also to those interested in Freud and Girard and their competing theories of desire.
“This book is a brilliant response to a famous volume edited by Slavoj Žižek in which Jacques Lacan takes the place of René Girard. The author convinces us that one of the best guides to understanding Girard is Hitchcock’s filmography. The anguish of the wrongly accused, the irresistible escalation of violence, and the independence of desire from its object are all ingredients of the Hitchcockian suspense, and we follow the author’s analyses with the same pleasure as we watched the movies.”
—Jean-Pierre Dupuy, author of The Mark of the Sacred