There is no ‘authentic’ or spontaneous desire, but only the imitation of other people’s desires: desire is always mediated by the desire of the various models that the individual, more or less consciously, chooses. René Girard’s “mimetic theory”, which has been acknowledged as a break-through contribution to 20th-century critical thinking, was first developed in Mensonge romantique et verité romanesque (Eng. Trans. Deceit, Desire and the Novel, 1965). 2011 marks the 50th anniversary of its publication and we take this anniversary as an opportunity to engage scholars with theoretical approaches to literature in a discussion of mimetic theory and its contemporary and future uses in literary studies, including film and media studies. Participants will reflect upon Deceit, Desire and the Novel and consider its possible applications for their current and future work, as well as propose critiques, amplifications, or new perspectives on the main tenets in that book in particular, but also in Girard’s other works on literature.
The workshop at the ICI Berlin is part of a series of colloquia in other institutions and universities world-wide, including the Universities of Stanford, Cambridge and Yale, and the Espaço Cultural É Realizaçoes in São Paulo, Brazil. The series is sponsored by Imitatio and is coordinated by Pierpaolo Antonello (Cambridge) and Heather Webb (Ohio State). The Berlin event is co-coordinated by Manuele Gragnolati (Oxford) and Christoph Holzhey (ICI Berlin).
The event, like all events at the ICI Berlin, is open to the public, free of charge. The audience is presumed to consent to a possible recording on the part of the ICI Berlin. If you would like to attend the event yet might require assistance, please contact Event Management.