Study Guide

René Girard Files

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Top 10 Scapegoat Scenarios (in no particular order)

  1. Eve. Just because she offered Adam the apple did not mean he had to eat it!
  2. Social Media. It's not like everyone was super smart and burning through novels before the Internet. Cut out that romantic nonsense.
  3. Ralph Nader. Hey, Gore, you lost the 2000 election because you didn't get enough votes.
  4. Go read the short story "The Lottery" by Shirley Jackson. 'Nuff said.
  5. Don't get me started on Nazi Germany, Hitler, and the Jewish population.
  6. McDonald's: Hamburgers don't kill people. People kill people.
  7. Edward Snowden. Did someone say smoke and mirrors and the NSA?
  8. President Obama. He just wants preventive care for the people. Give the guy a break.
  9. Lee Harvey Oswald. Total conspiracy that he assassinated John F. Kennedy.
  10. That poor shaggy goat from Leviticus, of course.


New preface to the seventh edition of Deceit, Desire, and the Novel: The Self and Other in Literary Structure.

Dear Readers,

Wow. I mean, wow. It's been… what? 50 years since the first printing of this masterpiece of intellectual thought. And guess what? As of today, it's holding steady on Amazon at number 123,272 in the Best Sellers Rank. (I see that Hayden White's big one is only clocking in at number 411,089.) Ka-ching!

This book is still the go-to read for people interested in mimetic desire. And mimetic desire never goes out of style. It's not like Steely Dan or kombucha. Everyone experiences mimetic desire, ergo everyone is interested in reading my book!

DDN, as I affectionately refer to the book, hit it out of the park with the whole desire-human condition-violence jamboree. In the spirit of the theory, I killed it. Sure, some people deny that they experience mimetic desire. I call them desire deniers. (LMK if you have something catchier.)

These days, everyone wants to be "special," "unique," "individual," "rogue," "an outlier." Whatever. You're not. You want what I want, and it doesn't even matter what that it is. We both know it. So it is with great pride that I present this seventh edition of DDN. And to all of my fans, friends, and even foes, I say, "Be careful whose wish you wish for."

Semper fi,

René Girard
Stanford University

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