That is the new book by Cynthia L. Haven, which I was very enthusiastic about. I find about half of it to be a revelation, and the other half to be perfectly fine, though material I largely had seen before (but still useful to most readers). Here are a few of the things I learned:
1. As a child, “…his favorite game was a solitary one: with toy soldiers, he reenacted France’s major battles, taking all the roles himself.”
2. In 1944, at the age of 21, he saw many French collaborators killed or put on trial, and from that time started to develop some of his major ideas.
3. When he migrated to America, he associated the country with grandness and Avignon with petiteness. He was at that time “adamantly atheistic.”
4. He wrote his dissertation on “American Opinions on France, 1940-1943,” which at 418 pp. contained some early versions of his later ideas.
5. He was turned down for tenure at Indiana University, claiming he spent several years “devoted essentially to female students and cars.”
6. He insisted that he witnessed a lynching (likely in North Carolina) in the early 1950s, although after reading Haven’s discussion I suspect this was a fabrication.
7. He was significantly influenced by the Dante circle at Johns Hopkins where he ended up teaching, including by Charles Singleton.
8. Like myself, Haven considers Theater of Envy to be his most underrated book.
9. His work day typically started at 3:30 a.m.
10. Peter Thiel, as an undergraduate, actually took a class from Girard.
Definitely recommended to anyone with an interest in Girard. Here is my recent summary post on Girard.