Mark Wallace delivered the Raymund Schwager lecture at the annual Colloquium of Violence and Religion meeting at Northern Iowa University. Our host, Professor Martha Reineke, had focused us on ecology and mimetic theory. René Girard himself identified ecology as one aspect of the apocalyptic in Battling to the End; we may remember as well Michel Serres’s conception of the natural contract.
As an English professor I remember with pleasure Hugh Kenner’s advice that poets were the language users who took words seriously: if Shakespeare writes “out, out, brief candle” you are to think of candles. It is by taking words seriously that Wallace reminds us of the Bible’s ecological potential.
We have as well from the Iowa conference Ryan Duns’s essay, which won first prize in the Raymund Schwager Memorial Contest.
There is a sequence of articles on Raymund Schwager’s essay “Mimesis and Freedom” from the most recent AAR meeting in Baltimore: Józef Niewiadomski, Nikolaus Wandinger, Mathias Moosbrugger, and Karin Peter from Innsbruck, and James Williams. Schwager’s “Mimesis and Freedom” appears for the first time in English.
To add to our continuing survey of work in mimetic theory, we have “Mimetic Theory and Latin America: Receptions and Anticipations,” by [End Page v] João Cezar de Castro Rocha, who is himself one of the key figures. Michigan State University Press will be publishing a translation of his book on Machado de Assis.
Individual essays enlarging our readings of Bataille (Anthony Traylor), Chesterton (Duncan Reyburn), James Alison (John Edwards), and Giorgio Agamben (Anthony Bartlett) in relation to mimetic theory are especially welcome.
I would like to thank my editorial assistant Esra Genc Arvas for double duty on the journal and the book series, the Colloquium on Violence and Religion, the Michigan State University English Department, the College of Arts and Letters, and the Offices of the Provost and Vice-President for Research and Graduate Studies for continued support of the editing and publishing of Contagion as well as Imitatio for its support of our series of books also published at Michigan State University Press. I welcome Alexei Bodrov of St. Andrew’s Theological Institute to the Editorial Board. As editor, I am especially dependent on the Contagion Editorial Board and many others who have willingly read submissions contributed from a remarkable variety of disciplines. I am grateful for their service. [End Page vi]