By René Girard
This examine extends past the scope of literature into the psychology of a lot of our modern scene, together with model, advertisements, and propaganda strategies. In contemplating such points, the writer is going past the area of natural aesthetics and provides an interpretation of a few simple cultural difficulties of our time.
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Additional info for Deceit, Desire and the Novel: Self and Other in Literary Structure
Several passages seem to corroborate it strikingly. Proust asserts that ev erything is in the subject, and nothing in the object. He speaks of the "golden door of imagination" and of the "low door of experience" as if there could be absolute subjec tive data, independent · of all dialectic between the Self and the Other. The tradition of "symbolist" desire seems therefore to be supported by solid evidence. Fortunately we still have the novel itself. No one dreams of searching there for answers.
The transfer of the novelistic center of gravity is best and most spectacularly illustrated by The Eter11al Husband. Veltchaninov, a rich bachelor, is a middle-aged Don Juan who is beginning to give in to weariness and boredom. For several days he has been obsessed by the fleeting ap paritions of a man, at once mysterious and familiar, dis turbing and odd. The character's identity is soon revealed. It seems he is a certain Pavel Pavlovitch Troussotzki, whose wife, a former mistress of Veltchaninov's, has just died.
Can it be that we are mistaken? Could it be authentic passion, in the novels, which is accompanied by crystalli zation? All Stendhal"s great pairs of lovers contradict this point of view. True love, such as that of Fabrice for Cielia and that which Julien finally knows with Mme de Renal, does not transfigure. The qualities which this love discov ers in its object, the happiness it expects from it, are not illusory. Love-passion is always accompanied by esteem, in Corneille"s sense of the word.