Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Book Review: The Evolution of Desire by Cynthia L. Haven

I was drawn into reading Girard by the first section of this book, which I read on Church Life Journal as part of my daily regimen of blog reading. On the strength of this and other mentions of Girard from authors as diverse as Richard Beck and Amos Yong, I read The Girard Reader and then Things Hidden Since the Foundation of the World. When I started, I wondered if Haven's comparison of Girard's theory to Schliemann's discovery of Troy was unfair. After reading these three books, I think it is unfair -- in its generosity to Schliemann. Girard's accomplishment is the greater of the two.

Haven's book must be the best introduction to Girard for a general reader. A few quibbles: It gets a little too bogged down in the politics of the conference Girard helped organize that introduced Derrida to America, and it could hold Girard's feet to the fire a little more than it does. I feel like Girard's Wikipedia page is more critical than this book. The thing is, I think Girard's theory more or less endures all the criticism thrown at it. But before this book existed, I would have doubted that someone could write it. Yet here it is. I'd like to know what someone thinks for whom this is the very first exposure to Girard, and maybe I'll give it as a Christmas gift? Friends, you've been warned.

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