Mimesis

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“Mimesis can be defined as ‘holding a mirror up to nature’. The Ancient Greek term – pronounced ‘my-mees-is’ – is preferable to the English translation, ‘imitation’, which carries with it a pejorative overtone of ‘mere copy’. Inadequate too is ‘representation’. Mimesis carries more weight than that word. ‘The concept of Mimesis,’ writes Stephen Halliwell, in a recent book on the topic, ‘lies at the core of the entire history of Western attempts to make sense of representational art and its values.’ It is both fundamental and, at the same time, fiendishly slippery.” (p.4)

“The idea of ‘mimesis’ was put into literary-critical circulation by Aristotle, in his fragmentary treatise The Poetics. The title does not indicate an exclusive attention to poetry, but to all literary fabrication.” (p.4)

“Mimesis is the primary dramatic phenomenon: projecting oneself outside oneself and then acting as though one had really entered another body, another character.” (~Friedrich Nietsche, quoted p.5 Sutherland)

Ref: John Sutherland (2010) 50 Literature ideas you really need to know. Bloomsbury: London

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