Deceit, Desire and the Novel: Self and Other in Literary by René Girard

By René Girard

Via an in depth studying of 5 significant novelists -- Cervantes, Stendhal, Flaubert, Proust, and Dostoyevsky -- René Girard makes an attempt to outline the essence of a definite kind of novel which he calls the radical of mediated wish. The learn extends past the scope of literature into the psychology of a lot of our modern scene, together with type, advertisements, and propaganda options. In contemplating such features in terms of his significant subject, Girard is going past the area of natural aesthetics and gives an interpretation of a few uncomplicated cultural difficulties of our time.

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Sample text

Here we clearly see that the hero is deceiving us. The mediator is immobile and the hero turns around him like a planet around the stm. The behavior of Pavel Pavlovitch seems strange to us but it is . "TRIANGULAR" DESIRE 47 completely consistent with the logic of triangular desire. Pavel Pavlovitch can desire only through the mediation of Veltchaninov, in Veltchaninov as the mystics would say. He drags Veltchaninov along to the house of the lady he has chosen, so that he might desire her and thus guaran­ tee her erotic value.

It is a compromise between several solutions. The transfer of the novelistic center of gravity is best and most spectacularly illustrated by The Eter11al Husband. Veltchaninov, a rich bachelor, is a middle-aged Don Juan who is beginning to give in to weariness and boredom. For several days he has been obsessed by the fleeting ap­ paritions of a man, at once mysterious and familiar, dis­ turbing and odd. The character's identity is soon revealed. It seems he is a certain Pavel Pavlovitch Troussotzki, whose wife, a former mistress of Veltchaninov's, has just died.

In his words and gestures, Dostoyevsky's hero con­ stantly reveals a truth which remains a secret in the consciousness of previous heroes. The cccontradictory" feelings are so violent that the hero can no longer control them. Western readers sometimes feel a little lost in Dosto­ yevsky"s universe. Internal mediation exerts its dissolving power at the very heart of the family itself. It affects a dimension of existence which remains more or less invio­ lable in the French novelists. The three great novelists of internal mediation each have their own privileged terri­ tory.

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