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Deceit, Desire, and the Contemporary Novelist

A conversation between Brandon Taylor, A. Natasha Joukovsky, and Trevor Cribben Merrill—moderated by Dr. Kevin Rulo

Here is the full video of the fascinating conversation between the writers Brandon Taylor, A. Natasha Joukovsky, and Trevor Cribben Merrill which took place at the 2023 NOVITĀTE conference in October 2023. It was moderated by Kevin Rulo. I’m delighted to be able to share it for the first time with you here.

The discussion centered around the problem of “writing after having read René Girard”, as all of these novelists are doing (and doing at an extraordinarily high level).


has recently launched a Substack exploring this problem further, and has framed it up nicely in his first post. Trevor tells the story of how the writer Milan Kundera (author of The Unbearable Lightness of Being), his favorite writer as a new college, led him to René Girard through a footnote in one of his essays, Testaments Betrayed. This eventually led Trevor back to an appearance that the two writers, Kundera and Girard, made together on French radio in 1989. (You can listen to it here.)

“I had the doubl…

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Luke Burgis Newsletter
Luke Burgis Newsletter
Pursuing the mysterium tremendum et fascinans and writing at the intersection of philosophy, culture, art, technology, and religious wisdom.