勒內．吉拉爾是人類學家和哲學家，在法國出生，25歲留學美國，終生在美國任教。主要著作均先以法文出版，再譯成英文，如《浪漫主義的謊言與小說的真實》(Mensonge romantique et vérité romanesque, 1961)、 北京：三聯*，1998
作者: [法] 勒内·基拉尔
原作名: Mensonge romantique et vérité romanesque
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Jules de Gaultier (born in 1858 in Paris, died in 1942 in Boulogne-sur-Mer), born Jules Achille de Gaultier de Laguionie, was a French philosopher and essayist. He was a contributor to Mercure de France and one of the chief advocates of "nietzscheism" in vogue in the literary circles of the day. He was known especially for his theory of "bovarysme" (the name taken from Flaubert's novel), by which he meant the continual need of humans to invent themselves, to lie to themselves. His books include De Kant à Nietzsche (1900) and Le Bovarysme, essai sur le pouvoir d'imaginer (1902).
《暴力與神聖》(La Violence et le sacré, 1972)、《自世界奠基以來就被隱閉的事物》(Des choses cachées depuis la fondation du monde, 1978)、《代罪羔羊》(Le Bouc émissaire, 1982)和《完成克勞塞維茨 》(Achever Clausewitz, 2007) 等。其作品涉及文學、人類學、聖經解釋學、歷史、哲學和文化理論等。早年在美國成名，在法國則由學者Jean-Michel Oughourlian和Jean-Pierre Dupuy等人討論。
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After almost a decade of teaching French literature in the United States, Girard began to develop a new way of speaking about literary texts. Beyond the "uniqueness" of individual works, he looked for their common structural properties, having observed that characters in great fiction evolved in a system of relationships otherwise common to the wider generality of novels. But there was a distinction to be made:
So there did indeed exist "psychological laws" as Proust calls them. These laws and this system are the consequences of a fundamental reality grasped by the novelists, which Girard called "the mimetic character of desire." This is the content of his first book, Deceit, Desire and the Novel (1961). We borrow our desires from others. Far from being autonomous, our desire for a certain object is always provoked by the desire of another person—the model—for this same object. This means that the relationship between the subject and the object is not direct: there is always a triangular relationship of subject, model, and object. Through the object, one is drawn to the model, whom Girard calls the mediator: it is in fact the model who is sought. Girard calls desire "metaphysical" in the measure that, as soon as a desire is something more than a simple need or appetite, "all desire is a desire to be", it is an aspiration, the dream of a fullness attributed to the mediator.
Mediation is external when the mediator of the desire is socially beyond the reach of the subject or, for example, a fictional character, as in the case of Amadis de Gaula and Don Quixote. The hero lives a kind of folly that nonetheless remains optimistic. Mediation is internal when the mediator is at the same level as the subject. The mediator then transforms into a rival and an obstacle to the acquisition of the object, whose value increases as the rivalry grows. This is the universe of the novels of Stendhal, Flaubert, Proust and Dostoevsky, which are particularly studied in this book.
Through their characters, our own behaviour is displayed. Everyone holds firmly to the illusion of the authenticity of one's own desires; the novelists implacably expose all the diversity of lies, dissimulations, maneuvers, and the snobbery of the Proustian heroes; these are all but "tricks of desire", which prevent one from facing the truth: envy and jealousy. These characters, desiring the being of the mediator, project upon him superhuman virtues while at the same time depreciating themselves, making him a god while making themselves slaves, in the measure that the mediator is an obstacle to them. Some, pursuing this logic, come to seek the failures that are the signs of the proximity of the ideal to which they aspire. This can manifest as a heightened experience of the universal pseudo-masochism inherent in seeking the unattainable, which can, of course, turn into sadism should the actor play this part in reverse.
This fundamental focus on mimetic desire would be pursued by Girard throughout the rest of his career. The stress on imitation in humans was not a popular subject when Girard developed his theories, but today there is independent support for his claims coming from empirical research in psychology and neuroscience (see below).