Mimesis: Culture Art Society

Front Cover
University of California Press, 1995 - Literary Criticism - 400 pages
Mimesis, the notion that art imitates reality, has long been recognized as one of the central ideas of Western aesthetics and has been most frequently associated with Aristotle. Less well documented is the great importance of mimetic theories of literature, theater, and the visual arts during the Renaissance and the Enlightenment. In this book, the most comprehensive overview of the theory of mimesis since Auerbach's monumental study, Gunter Gebauer and Christoph Wulf provide a thorough introduction to the complex and shifting meanings of the term. Beginning with the Platonic doctrine of imitation, they chart the concept's appropriation and significance in the aesthetic theories of Aristotle, Molière, Shakespeare, Racine, Diderot, Lessing, and Rousseau. They examine the status of mimesis in the nineteenth-century novel and its reworking by such modern thinkers as Benjamin, Adorno, and Derrida. Widening the traditional understanding of mimesis to encompass the body and cultural practices of everyday life, their work suggests the continuing value of mimetic theory and will prove essential reading for scholars and students of literature, theater, and the visual arts.
 

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Contents

Point of Departure
9
Mimesis as Imitation the Production
25
Imitation Illusion Image Plato
31
Poetic Mimesis Aristotle
53
Mimesis as Imitatio the Expression of Power
61
Poetics and Power in the Renaissance
76
Mimesis as Enactment of the State
105
Mimesis as the SelfRepresentation
120
SelfMimesis Rousseau
206
Mimesis as the Principle of Worldmaking
217
Mimetic Desire in the Work of Girard
233
Violence in Antiromantic Literature
240
The Mimesis of Violence Girard
255
Mimesis as Entree to the World Language
267
Vital Experience Adorno
281
The BetweenCharacter of Mimesis Derrida
294

Against Mimesis as SelfRepresentation
134
From Imitation to the Constitution
151
Mimesis in the Theater of the Enlightenment
164
Diderots Paradox of Acting
174
The Transformation of Mimesis in Lessing
186
Notes
321
Bibliography
369
Index
391
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About the author (1995)

Gunter Gebauer and Christoph Wulf are Professors in the Center for Historical Anthropology at the Free University of Berlin and the authors of several works of literary and cultural criticism. Don Reneau is a translator and writer in Berkeley, California.

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