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Violence and the Sacred

Violence and the Sacred Description:

His fascinating and ambitious book provides a fully developed theory of violence as the heart and secret soul of the sacred Girard s fertile combative mind links myth to prophetic writing primitive religions to classical tragedy

Rating: 3.76 out of 5

I See Satan Fall Like Lightning

I See Satan Fall Like Lightning Description:

Rene Girard holds up the gospels as mirrors that reveal our broken humanity and shows that they also reflect a new reality that can make us whole Like Simone Weil Girard looks at the Bible as a map of human behavior and sees Jesus Christ as the turning point leading to new life The title echoes Jesus words I saw Satan falling like lightning from heaven Girard persuades us that even as our world grows increasingly violent the power of the Christ event is so great that the evils of scapegoating and sacrifice are being defeated even now A new community God s nonviolent kingdom is being realized even now

Rating: 3.55 out of 5

The Scapegoat

The Scapegoat Description:

Widely regarded as one of the most profound critics of our time Rene Girard has pursued a powerful line of inquiry across the fields of the humanities and the social sciences His theories which the French press has termed l hypothese girardienne have sparked interdisciplinary even international controversy In i The Scapegoat i Girard applies his approach to texts of persecution documents that recount phenomena of collective violence from the standpoint of the persecutor documents such as the medieval poet Guillaume de Machaut s i Judgement of the King of Navarre i which blames the Jews for the Black Death and describes their mass murder br br Girard compares persecution texts with myths most notably with the myth of Oedipus and finds strikingly similar themes and structures Could myths regularly conceal texts of persecution Girard s answers lies in a study of the Christian Passion which represents the same central event the same collective violence found in all mythology but which is read from the point of view of the innocent victim The Passion text provides the model interpretation that has enabled Western culture to demystify its own violence a demystification Girard now extends to mythology br br Underlying Girard s daring textual hypothesis is a powerful theory of history and culture Christ s rejection of all guilt breaks the mythic cycle of violence and the sacred The scapegoat becomes the Lamb of God the foolish genesis of blood stained idols and the false gods of superstition politics and ideologies are revealed

Rating: 3.30 out of 5

Things Hidden Since the Foundation of the World

Things Hidden Since the Foundation of the World Description:

An astonishing work of cultural criticism this book is widely recognized as a brilliant and devastating challenge to conventional views of literature anthropology religion and psychoanalysis In its scope and itnerest it can be compared with Freud s i Totem and Taboo i the subtext Girard refutes with polemic daring vast erudition and a persuasiveness that leaves the reader compelled to respond one way or another br br This is the single fullest summation of Girard s ideas to date the book by which they will stand or fall In a dialogue with two psychiatrists Jean Michel Oughourlian and Guy Lefort Girard probes an encyclopedic array of topics ranging across the entire spectrum of anthropology psychoanalysis and cultural production br br Girard s point of departure is what he calles mimesis the conflict that arises when human rivals compete to differentiate themselves from each other yet succeed only in becoming more and more alike At certain points in the life of a society according to Girard this mimetic conflict erupts into a crisis in which all difference dissolves in indiscriminate violence In primitive societies such crises were resolved by the scapegoating mechanism in which the community en masse turned on an unpremeditated victim The repression of this collective murder and its repetition in ritual sacrifice then formed the foundations of both religion and the restored social order br br How does Christianity at once the most sacrificial of religions and a faith with a non violent ideology fit into this scheme Girard grants Freud s point in i Totem and Taboo i that Christianity is similar to primitive religion but only to refute Freud if Christ is sacrificed Girard argues it is not becuase God willed it but because human beings i wanted i it br br The book is not merely or perhaps not mainly biblical exegesis for within its scope fall some of the most vexing problems of social history the paradox that violance has social efficacy the function of the scapegoat the mechanism of anti semitism

Rating: 3.46 out of 5

Deceit, Desire and the Novel: Self and Other in Literary Structure

Deceit, Desire and the Novel: Self and Other in Literary Structure Description:

This study extends beyond the scope of literature into the psychology of much of our contemporary scene including fashion advertising and propaganda techniques In considering such aspects the author goes beyond the domain of pure aesthetics and offers an interpretation of some basic cultural problems of our time

Rating: 3.37 out of 5

The Girard Reader

The Girard Reader Description:

In one volume an anthology of seminal work of one of the twentieth century s most original thinkers

Rating: 3.35 out of 5

A Theatre of Envy: William Shakespeare

A Theatre of Envy: William Shakespeare Description:

In this groundbreaking work one of our foremost literary and cultural critics turns to the major figure in English literature William Shakespeare and proposes a dramatic new reading of nearly all his plays and poems The key to A Theater of Envy is Rene Girard s novel reinterpretation of mimesis For Girard people desire objects not for their intrinsic value but because they are desired by someone else we mime or imitate their desires This envy or mimetic desire he sees as one of the foundations of the human condition br Bringing such provocative and iconoclastic insights to bear on Shakespeare Girard reveals the previously overlooked coherence of problem plays like Troilus and Cressida and makes a convincing argument for elevating A Midsummer Night s Dream from the status of a chaotic comedy to a masterpiece The book abounds with novel and provocative interpretations Shakespeare becomes a prophet of modern advertising and the threat of nuclear disaster is read in the light of Hamlet Most intriguing of all perhaps is a brief but brilliant aside in which an entirely new perspective is brought to the chapter in Joyce s Ulysses in which Stephen Dedalus gives a lecture on Shakespeare In Girard s view only Joyce perhaps the greatest of twentieth century novelists comes close to understanding the greatest of Renaissance playwrights br Throughout this impressively sustained reading of Shakespeare Girard s prose is sophisticated but contemporary and accessible to the general reader Anyone interested in literature anthropology or psychoanalysis will want to read this challenging book And all those involved in theatrical production and performance will find A Theater of Envy full of suggestive new ideas

Rating: 3.72 out of 5


Sacrifice Description:

In i Sacrifice i Ren Girard interrogates the Brahmanas of Vedic India exploring coincidences with mimetic theory that are too numerous and striking to be accidental Even that which appears to be dissimilar fails to contradict mimetic theory but instead corresponds to the minimum of illusion without which sacrifice becomes impossible br The Bible reveals collective violence similar to that which generates sacrifice everywhere but instead of making victims guilty the Bible and the Gospels reveal the persecutors of a single victim Instead of elaborating myths they tell the truth absolutely contrary to the archaic sense Once exposed the single victim mechanism can no longer function as the model for would be sacrificers br Recognizing that the Vedic tradition also converges on a revelation that discredits sacrifice mimetic theory locates within sacrifice itself a paradoxical power of quiet reflection that leads in the long run to the eclipse of this institution which is violent but nevertheless fundamental to the development of human culture Far from unduly privileging the Western tradition and awarding it a monopoly on the knowledge and repudiation of blood sacrifice mimetic analysis recognizes comparable but never truly identical traits in the Vedic tradition

Rating: 3.78 out of 5

Resurrection from the Underground: Feodor Dostoevsky

Resurrection from the Underground: Feodor Dostoevsky Description:

First published in France in this is the first publication in English of the author s analysis of Dostoevsky s themes revealing Girard s combination of mimetic literary and religious approaches No index Annotation c by Book News Inc Portland Or

Rating: 3.54 out of 5

Evolution and Conversion: Dialogues on the Origins of Culture

Evolution and Conversion: Dialogues on the Origins of Culture Description:

Presented as a series of conversations Evolution i and Conversion i is a thorough discussion of the major tenets of Girard s thought br br Ren Girard is one of the most brilliant and striking intellectuals of the th century His theory on the imitative nature of desire and on the violent origin of culture has been at the centre of the philosophical and theoretical debate since the publication in of his seminal book i Violence and the Sacred i His reflection on the relationship between violence and religion is one of the most original and persuasive and given the urgency of this issue in our contemporary world demands a reappraisal br br Girard who has been hailed by Michel Serres as the Charles Darwin of human sciences is in fact one of the few thinkers in the humanities and social sciences that takes into full consideration an evolutionary perspective to explain the emergence of culture and institutions The authors draw out this aspect of his thought by foregrounding ethological anthropological and evolutionary theories br br Methodological and epistemological systematization has also been lacking in Girard s previous books and by questioning him on the issue of evidence and truth the authors provide a convincing framework for further inquiries In the last chapters Girard proposes a provocative re reading of the Biblical texts seen as the culmination of an enduring process of historical awareness of the presence and function of collective violence in our world In fact Girard s long argument is a historical spiral in which the origin of culture and archaic religion is reunited with the contemporary world by means of a reinterpretation of Christianity and its revelation of the intrinsic violent nature of the human being

Rating: 3.72 out of 5