From Richard Cocks, Orthosphere contributor.

S y d n e y T r a d s

rene-girard-pointing René Noël Théophile Girard, French historian, literary critic, and philosopher of social science whose work belongs to the tradition of anthropological philosophy.

In preparation for teaching a literature course in the 1950s, René Girard reread some of the classic novels. In the process he realized that the novelists had had profound insights into aspects of the human condition and that to a large degree, they were the same insights. Not only that: they all ended the same way with the despised central protagonist recognized by the author, finally, as an aspect of himself. Thus, all the great novels end with a moment of transcendent self-revelation. This claim is certainly immensely provocative and intriguing.

Girard began his exploration of these novelistic insights in Deceit, Desire and the Novel.¹ The key insight is the role of imitation in human life. It accounts for the ability to read these words, cross…

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