Le désir mimétique dans Illusions perdues de Balzac


Although René Girard does not himself analyze Balzac in his well-known study on the works by the “great novelists,” it is obvious that the model of “triangular desire” illuminates many important aspects of desire in Illusions perdues especially in relation to love and ambition in the character of Lucien Chardon/de Rubempré. At the same time, there are numerous points where the novel, by its great complexity, resists a strict Girardian explanation of desire; it is for instance striking how independent and active Balzac’s hero is, and to what extent he is conscious of the mimetic mechanism of desire.