Biography[ edit ] Girard was born in Avignon on 25 December
Biography[ edit ] Girard was born in Avignon on 25 December He was to spend most of his career in the United States. He received his PhD in and stayed at Indiana University until He occupied positions at Duke University and Bryn Mawr College from toafter which he moved to Johns Hopkins UniversityBaltimore, where he became a full professor in In that year, he also published his first book: In he became Andrew B.
Hammond Professor of French Language, Literature, and Civilization at Stanford Universitywhere he stayed until his retirement in William Shakespeare and Quand ces choses commenceront Inhe received his first honorary degree at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam in the Netherlands; several others followed later.
His work has inspired interdisciplinary research projects and experimental research such as the Mimetic Theory project sponsored by the John Templeton Foundation. Beyond the "uniqueness" of individual works, he looked for their common structural properties, having observed that characters in great fiction evolved in a system of Evans pritchard 1953 the sacrificial role of otherwise common to the wider generality of novels.
But there was a distinction to be made: Only the great writers succeed in painting these mechanisms faithfully, without falsifying them: We borrow our desires from others. Far from being autonomous, our desire for a certain object is always provoked by the desire of another person—the model—for this same object.
This means that the relationship between the subject and the object is not direct: Through the object, one is drawn to the model, whom Girard calls the mediator: Girard calls desire "metaphysical" in the measure that, as soon as a desire is something more than a simple need or appetite, "all desire is a desire to be",  it is an aspiration, the dream of a fullness attributed to the mediator.
Mediation is external when the mediator of the desire is socially beyond the reach of the subject or, for example, a fictional character, as in the case of Amadis de Gaula and Don Quixote. The hero lives a kind of folly that nonetheless remains optimistic.
Mediation is internal when the mediator is at the same level as the subject. The mediator then transforms into a rival and an obstacle to the acquisition of the object, whose value increases as the rivalry grows.
This is the universe of the novels of StendhalFlaubertProust and Dostoevskywhich are particularly studied in this book. Through their characters, our own behaviour is displayed. These characters, desiring the being of the mediator, project upon him superhuman virtues while at the same time depreciating themselves, making him a god while making themselves slaves, in the measure that the mediator is an obstacle to them.
Some, pursuing this logic, come to seek the failures that are the signs of the proximity of the ideal to which they aspire. This can manifest as a heightened experience of the universal pseudo- masochism inherent in seeking the unattainable, which can, of course, turn into sadism should the actor play this part in reverse[ citation needed ].
This fundamental focus on mimetic desire would be pursued by Girard throughout the rest of his career. The stress on imitation in humans was not a popular subject when Girard developed his theories,[ citation needed ] but today there is independent support for his claims coming from empirical research in psychology and neuroscience see below.
Mimetic double bind and Generative anthropology Since the mimetic rivalry that develops from the struggle for the possession of the objects is contagious, it leads to the threat of violence. Girard himself says, "If there is a normal order in societies, it must be the fruit of an anterior crisis.
This process quickly snowballs. Since from the beginning desire is aroused by the other and not by the object the object is soon forgotten and the mimetic conflict transforms into a general antagonism.
They wanted to share the same object, but now they want to destroy the same enemy. So, a paroxysm of violence would tend to focus on an arbitrary victim and a unanimous antipathy would, mimetically, grow against him.
The brutal elimination of the victim would reduce the appetite for violence that possessed everyone a moment before, and leaves the group suddenly appeased and calm.
The victim lies before the group, appearing simultaneously as the origin of the crisis and as the one responsible for this miracle of renewed peace.
He becomes sacred, that is to say the bearer of the prodigious power of defusing the crisis and bringing peace back. Girard believes this to be the genesis of archaic religion, of ritual sacrifice as the repetition of the original event, of myth as an account of this event, of the taboos that forbid access to all the objects at the origin of the rivalries that degenerated into this absolutely traumatizing crisis.
This religious elaboration takes place gradually over the course of the repetition of the mimetic crises whose resolution brings only a temporary peace.
The elaboration of the rites and of the taboos constitutes a kind of empirical knowledge about violence.
Girard found these elements in numerous myths, beginning with that of Oedipuswhich he analyzed in this and later books.René Noël Théophile Girard (/ ʒ ɪəˈr ɑːr d /; French: ; 25 December – 4 November ) was a French historian, literary critic, and philosopher of social science whose work belongs to the tradition of anthropological skybox2008.com was the author of nearly thirty books, with his writings spanning many academic domains.
Although the reception of his work is different in each. The best opinions, comments and analysis from The Telegraph.
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Bibliography Awolalu, J. Omosade. Yoruba Beliefs and Sacrificial Rites London: Longman, Bartels, Lambert. Oromo Religion: Myths and Rites of the Western Oromo of Ethiopia - An Attempt to Understand Berlin: Dietrich Reimer Verlag, Baxter, Paul T.W., Jan Hultin and Alessandro Triulzi.
René Noël Théophile Girard (/ ʒ ɪəˈr ɑːr d /; French: ; 25 December – 4 November ) was a French historian, literary critic, and philosopher of social science whose work belongs to the tradition of anthropological skybox2008.com was the author of nearly thirty books, with his writings spanning many academic domains.
Although the reception of his work is different in each. Bibliography Awolalu, J. Omosade. Yoruba Beliefs and Sacrificial Rites London: Longman, Bartels, Lambert. Oromo Religion: Myths and Rites of the Western Oromo of Ethiopia - An Attempt to Understand Berlin: Dietrich Reimer Verlag, Baxter, Paul T.W., Jan Hultin and Alessandro Triulzi.