Desire: Flaubert, Proust, Fitzgerald, Miller, Lana Del Rey – by Per Bjørnar Grande

“A common theme in films, novels, or plays is how desire works in characters and how it creates and changes their destinies.” So begins this work by Norweigen professor and Girard scholar Per Bjørnar Grande in this Breakthroughs in Mimetic Theory series by Michigan State University Press, a series supported by Imitatio, a project of the Thiel Foundation.

This book is comprised of 5 chapters:

Chapter 1: The Nature of Desire
Chapter 2: Desire in Madame Bovary
Chapter 3: Proustian Desire
Chapter 4: Desire in The Great Gatsby
Chapter 5: Desire in Death of a Salesman
Chapter 6: Desire in Lana Del Rey

A highlight of this work is Chapter 4 on The Great Gatbsy, in which Grande frames F. Scott Fitzgerald in terms of his tortured mimetic relationship with his own characters, and how The Great Gatsby is actually a step forward for Fitzgerland in removing himself from the story. “Fitzgerald writes from a distance that enables him to discover a more refined literary structure,” notes Grande. “There is no longer any authorial voice or narrator with full access to the characters.”

He continues:

“In his previous novels, This Side of Paradise (1920) and The Beautiful and Damned (1922), Fitzgerald was playing out his own life, letting his protagonists wrestle with his own conflicting ideas regarding such philosophical perspectives as Nietzscheanism, naturalism, Romanticism, and Catholicism. The omniscient narrators in these novels are therefore constantly shifting perspectives in order to explore the author’s ideological frustrations. In contrast, the story told in The Great Gatsby is narrated by a character with limited access to the other characters.”

Check out Desire: Flaubert, Proust, Fitzgerald, Miller, Lana Del Rey on Amazon