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Rivalry/Idolatry/Desire: René Girard on Art and Violence (INTRO)

July 31 @ 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm

“The scapegoat mechanism is not a theory, it’s a phenomenon.” – RG

The ideas of late French thinker René Girard (1923-2015) are destined for unpopularity. Focusing on the primal similarities of human culture, he concludes that we are all subject to imitation of each other. This “mimetic desire” in turns creates rivalries and violence which can only be resolved in ritual sacrifice. Drawing from tribal and classical mythology to modern literature, Girard’s ideas encompass the entire culture of human civilization. In this seminar we will begin as he did, by examining the structure of the novel and how it reveals the mimetic nature of desire and violence. Abandon all romantic fashions, ye who enter here.

****First meeting is an introductory lecture with not required reading.****

The lecture will cover Girard’s background, the development of his ideas and their relevance to our society. It will also provide seminar dates and goals. PDFs of reading will be provided by the teacher.

Afterwards, REQUIRED reading:

Desire, Deceit and the Novel / Mensonge romantique et vérité romanesque (Girard, 1961)

Optional, bust suggested:

The Red and the Black / Le Rouge et le noir (Stendhal, 1830)

This event is cross-posted to other groups in other cities, please share it around the world.