“If You Must, Die in Spring”: a novel and exegesis

Author: Rubik Roy

  • Thesis download: available for open access on 18 Jul 2025.

Roy, Rubik, 2020 “If You Must, Die in Spring”: a novel and exegesis, Flinders University, College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences

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This doctoral thesis is comprised of a creative component and a related exegesis. The exegesis examines how the two novels, The Eternal Husband by Fyodor Dostoevsky and A Hero of Our Time by Mikhail Lermontov, that have influenced my creative work, have used (and subverted) the love triangle. I have analysed these texts using René Girard’s theory of triangular desire which creates the roles of subject, object, and mediator in trying to explain the nature of human relationships. As a result of my analysis, I find aspects of Girard’s theory (especially his conception of the mediator and the object) limiting and at times unable to capture the nuances of human relationships as set out by Dostoevsky and Lermontov. Therefore, I offer an alternative view of the love triangle based on Girard’s theory, certain texts by Dostoevsky and Lermontov, and my own creative work.

My novel, “If You Must, Die in Spring”, subverts the love triangle by conflating two of its members. By subverting the love triangle, I have tried to stretch the boundaries of triangular desire. In writing my creative work, I have found that the collapse of a love triangle leads to the creation of a new one, and in this way seems to affirm Girard’s contention that desire is eternally triangular in nature. While I find Girard’s theory to be thought provoking and very useful for creative writers in structuring their works, I suggest a number of changes to make it more flexible and to bring it up to date with twenty-first century concerns.

Keywords: Love Triangle, Triangular Desire, Eternal Triangle, Dostoevsky, The Eternal Husband, Lermontov, A Hero of Our Time, Girard

Subject: Creative Arts thesis

Thesis type: Doctor of Philosophy
Completed: 2020
School: College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences
Supervisor: Eric Parisot