Resurrection from the Underground: Feodor Dostoevsky (Studies in Violence, Mimesis, & Culture)


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An introduction to Christian theories of myth and the Four Branches of the Mabinogi

This mimetic desire, Rene Girard contends, lies at the source of all human disorder and order. In brilliant readings of Dante, Camus, Nietzsche, Dostoevski, Levi-Strauss, Freud, and others, Girard draws out the thesis of mimetic desire -- and ponders its suppression in the West since Plato: "The historical mutilation of mimesis 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 Totem and Taboo, the subtext Girard refutes with polemic daring, vast erudition, and a persuasiveness that leaves the reader compelled to respond, one way or another.

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. Girard's point o 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. 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 Totem and Taboo, 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 becaus ehuman beings wanted it.

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. What do we know about the Book of Job? Not very much. The hero complains endlessly. He has just lost his children all his livestock.

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He scratches his ulcers. The misfortunes of which he complains are all duly enumerated in the prologue. They are misfortunes brought on him by Satan with God's permission. We think we know, but are we sure? Not once in the Dialogues does Job mention either Satan or anything about his misdeeds. Could it be that they are too much on his mind for him to mention them?

Possibly, yet Job mentions everything else, and does much more than mention. He dwells heavily on the cause of his misfortune, which is none of those mentioned in the prologue. More Details Original Title. Other Editions 7. Friend Reviews.

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Rene Girard The Girard Reader

Sort order. Start your review of Resurrection from the Underground: Feodor Dostoevsky. Its extensions are so many and ramified that they will not appear to us except little by little. Con questo libro ho capito il mio problema. Dec 19, Andrew Marr rated it it was amazing Shelves: spirituality-of-peace , literature. Girard's take on literary masterpieces is different from that of most other literary critics because of his discernment of mimetic desire fueling the plots and character development of novels.

René Girard's Mimetic Theory in 4 Minutes

Dostoevsky is the greatest genius of all in this understanding well, along with Shakespeare. Anyone interested in Dostoevsky will profit from grappling with Girard's take. Bellissimo saggio; bellissima la critica di Girard. Riemergere dal sottosuolo.

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Mar 20, Jake McAtee rated it it was amazing. View 1 comment. Jan 04, Olivier Goetgeluck rated it liked it. Triangular or mimetic desire: our desires are copied form models or mediators whose objects of desire become our objects of desire. But the model or mediator we imitate can become our rival if we desire the object he is imagined to have.

This strange joke is in a way a typical reaction to the mimetic theory ifwe remember how often people do not understand at all why it is of any importance to deal with mimetic desire and scapegoating. Mimetic theory seems to be either one of those fashions which are caused by the necessity to be original or a strange obsession of a small sect following a Wolfgang Palaver guru who at least understood that you just have to insist on some bizarre ideas long enough to get some recognition in the end. My paper will try to show that such a critique ofthe mimetic theory is definitely wrong.

Whatever major work in political philosophy I read I often came across exactlythose questionsthat are addressed by the mimetic theory.

René Girard

I think the collaboration of some scholars in mimetic theory would allow it to write a history of political philosophy by focusing on mimesis and scapegoating without excluding any ofthe major authors. I will try to do this today by the examples ofHobbes, Rousseau and Kant. In a first step I will show you how these three founding fathers of modern political philosophy were all concerned with mimetic desire.

The rise ofthe modem world forced them to view human beings as mimetic competitors. In a second, more difficult step I will focus on traces of the scapegoat mechanism in the works ofthese three authors.

René Noel Girard

Although scapegoating is less visible than mimetic desire it is nevertheless possible to see how this relates to the violent origin of human culture. A third part will address the differences between Girard's view on mimetic desire and scapegoating and the comparable views taken by Hobbes, Rousseau, and Kant. These differences are caused by the respective relationships to the biblical revelation. Whereas Girard's theory emphasizes the importance of the Bible to understand mimesis and scapegoating, Hobbes, Rousseau, and Kant are representatives of the modern neglect of the biblical revelation.

Resurrection from the Underground: Feodor Dostoevsky (Studies in Violence, Mimesis, & Culture) Resurrection from the Underground: Feodor Dostoevsky (Studies in Violence, Mimesis, & Culture)
Resurrection from the Underground: Feodor Dostoevsky (Studies in Violence, Mimesis, & Culture) Resurrection from the Underground: Feodor Dostoevsky (Studies in Violence, Mimesis, & Culture)
Resurrection from the Underground: Feodor Dostoevsky (Studies in Violence, Mimesis, & Culture) Resurrection from the Underground: Feodor Dostoevsky (Studies in Violence, Mimesis, & Culture)
Resurrection from the Underground: Feodor Dostoevsky (Studies in Violence, Mimesis, & Culture) Resurrection from the Underground: Feodor Dostoevsky (Studies in Violence, Mimesis, & Culture)
Resurrection from the Underground: Feodor Dostoevsky (Studies in Violence, Mimesis, & Culture) Resurrection from the Underground: Feodor Dostoevsky (Studies in Violence, Mimesis, & Culture)
Resurrection from the Underground: Feodor Dostoevsky (Studies in Violence, Mimesis, & Culture) Resurrection from the Underground: Feodor Dostoevsky (Studies in Violence, Mimesis, & Culture)
Resurrection from the Underground: Feodor Dostoevsky (Studies in Violence, Mimesis, & Culture) Resurrection from the Underground: Feodor Dostoevsky (Studies in Violence, Mimesis, & Culture)

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