Rene Girard: Violence and Mimesis
September 2004, Polity
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Girard, thought by many to be one of the most important, if
controversial, cultural theorists of the twentieth century. Girard’s
work is extraordinarily innovative and wide-ranging, cutting across
central concerns in philosophy, psychoanalysis, literary theory,
anthropology, theology, and sociology.
In this much-needed introduction, Chris Fleming traces the development
of Girard’s thought over forty years, describing the context in which he
worked and his influence on a number of disciplines. He unpacks the
hypotheses at the centre of Girard’s thought – mimetic desire, surrogate
victimage and scapegoating, myth, ritual, and the sacred – and provides
an assessment of Girard’s place in the contemporary academy.
Comprehensive and clearly written, this book constitutes an excellent
overview of Girard’s work and is essential reading for students and
researchers in continental philosophy, theology, literary studies, French studies,
and cultural studies.