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Geoffrey Hill, René Girard, and the Logic of Sacrifice

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Abstract According to René Girard, the logic of sacrifice is scapegoating, the logic of self-sacrifice is self-transcendency true or deviated. Ibsen completed his unfinished epic poem “Brand” by rewriting it as a dramatic poem; dramatization clarified the mutually complicit nature of Brand’s useless self-sacrifice to and by his community. Ibsen rewrote Brand with great speed and facility and, ten years later, perhaps with the lesson of Brand’s unnecessary self-sacrifice in mind, achieved that regularity of intense focus that produced a play every two years. Geoffrey Hill’s stage version completes the process of dramatizing Brand. By his own accounting in a 1979 interview Hill wrote his Brand with great speed and facility; ten years later, he began the current period of unrivalled periodic productivity.


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Affiliations: 1: Michigan State University


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