By Trevor Cribben Merrill
Trevor Cribben Merrill deals a daring reassessment of Milan Kundera's position within the modern canon. Harold Bloom and others have brushed aside the Franco-Czech writer as a maker of "period items" that misplaced forex as soon as the Berlin Wall fell. Merrill refutes this view, revealing a formerly unexplored size of Kundera's fiction. development on theorist René Girard's thought of "triangular desire," he indicates that glossy classics equivalent to The insufferable Lightness of Being and The e-book of Laughter and Forgetting exhibit a counterintuitive--and bitterly funny--understanding of human attraction.
Most works of fiction (and so much video clips, too) depict passionate emotions as deeply genuine and spontaneous. Kundera's novels and brief tales overturn this romantic dogma. A pounding center and sweaty fingers may well suggest that we have got came upon "the One" at last--or they can attest to the impact of a version whose wishes we're unconsciously borrowing: our amorous predilections may well owe much less to non-public flavor or actual chemistry than they do to imitative wish.
At as soon as a entire survey of Kundera's novels and a witty creation to Girard's mimetic thought, The publication of Imitation and hope demanding situations our assumptions approximately human intent and renews our realizing of an important modern author.
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Extra resources for The Book of Imitation and Desire: Reading Milan Kundera with René Girard
The two poets read a note written by the butcher’s wife and take it for a poetic verse of the student’s creation. Thus is the young hero (whom Kundera rather unkindly calls an “incorrigible idiot” (212)) welcomed into the club of poets as an equal, Kristyna’s simple message (“I await you. I love you. Kristyna. ”) having been transformed and draped, as was Kristyna herself, in royal garb by the benevolent divinities of poetry. 26 The Book of Imitation and Desire “An imitation of feeling” Eva Le Grand’s Kundera, or, The Memory of Desire surveys the author’s work in a series of lucid, free-flowing variations.
As the psychologist Sam Sommers observes, when asked about the criteria that determine our interest in a potential mate, we generally cite a shapely body, a pretty face, or a knack for witty conversation: “. . ”11 Focused entirely on the object, we neglect to factor peer influence into the equation of desire, convinced that in the journalist’s place we would choose the pretty girlfriend instead of the aging doctoress. In short, though we may acknowledge the story’s validity as an illustration of the imitative mechanism, we tend to limit its scope.
All, that is, but one. There remains that one missing ingredient, an ingredient so important and, in this story at least, so obvious that most critics appear to have passed over it in silence, perhaps in the belief that such low-hanging fruit offered insufficient exercise for their interpretive powers. Once we add it, everything falls into place, and even the text’s ethical implications become richer and more complex. ”14 The word “imitation” pries open Le Grand’s psychology of the subject and transforms it from within.
The Book of Imitation and Desire: Reading Milan Kundera with René Girard by Trevor Cribben Merrill