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Mimesis (μίμησις from μιμεîσθαι) in its simplest context means imitation or representation in Greek. Image File history File links Information_icon. ... Imitation is an advanced animal behaviour whereby an individual observes anothers behaviour and replicates it itself. ... It is generally agreed that people know and understand the world and reality through the act of naming it; thus, through language and representations (Oxford English Dictionary, cited in Vukcevich 2002). ...

Contents

History

Both Plato and Aristotle saw, in mimesis (Greek μίμησις), the representation of nature. Plato wrote about mimesis in both Ion and The Republic (Books I & II and Book X). In Ion he states that poetry is the art of divine madness, or inspiration. Because of this, it is not the function of the poet to convey the truth. As Plato has it, truth is the concern of the philosopher only. As culture in those days did not consist in the solitary reading of books, but in the listening to 'performances', the recitals of orators or the acting out by classical actors of tragedy, etc., Plato maintained in his critique that theatre was not sufficient in conveying the truth. He was concerned that actors or orators were thus able to persuade an audience by rhetoric rather than by telling the truth. For other uses, see Plato (disambiguation). ... Aristotle (Greek: AristotélÄ“s) (384 BC – March 7, 322 BC) was a Greek philosopher, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. ... It is generally agreed that people know and understand the world and reality through the act of naming it; thus, through language and representations (Oxford English Dictionary, cited in Vukcevich 2002). ... Galunggung in 1982, showing a combination of natural events. ... Platos Ion aims to give an account of poetry in dialogue form. ... The Republic (Greek: ) is an influential work of philosophy and political theory by the Greek philosopher Plato, written in approximately 360 BC. It is written in the format of a Socratic dialogue. ...


In Book I and II of his Republic Plato argues that poets have no place in the ideal state, and that a philosopher ought to hold the highest role as Philosopher King. In Book X he gives the reasons for this opinion - and this is the part of his theory that is known by most people. Plato thought all creation was imitation, and so the gods' creation was an imitation of the truth and essence of nature, and an artist's re-presentation of this god-created reality was twice-removed representation, leading away from the Ideal. This is why Plato considers poets, painters, and other representational artists "two steps removed from the truth." Imitation is an advanced animal behaviour whereby an individual observes anothers behaviour and replicates it itself. ... Creation (theology) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia /**/ @import /skins-1. ...


Aristotle's Poetics is often referred to as the counterpart to this Platonic conception of poetry. Aristotle was not against literature as such; he stated that human beings are mimetic beings, feeling an urge to create texts (art) that reflect and represent reality. Aristotles Poetics aims to give an account of poetry. ...


Aristotle considered it important that there be a certain distance between the work of art on the one hand and life on the other; we draw knowledge and consolation from tragedies only because they do not happen to us. Without this distance, tragedy could not give rise to catharsis. However, it is equally important that the text causes the audience to identify with the characters and the events in the text, and unless this identification occurs, it does not touch us, as an audience. Aristotle holds that it is through simulated representation, mimesis, that we respond to the acting on the stage which is conveying to us what the characters feel, so that we may empathize with them in this way through the mimetic form of dramatic roleplay. It is the task of the dramatist to produce the tragic enactment in order to accomplish this empathy by means of what is taking place on stage.


In short, catharsis can only be achieved if we see something that is both recognizable and distant. Aristotle argued that literature is more interesting as a means of learning than history, because history deals with specific facts that have happened, and which are contingent, whereas literature, although sometimes based on history, deals with events that could have taken place, or ought to have taken place.


Aristotle thought of drama as being "an imitation of an action," that of tragedy as of "falling from a higher to a lower estate", and so being removed to a less ideal situation in more tragic circumstances than before. He posited the characters in tragedy as being better than the average human being, and those of comedy as being worse. This does not cite its references or sources. ... In general usage a tragedy is a play, movie or sometimes a real world event with a sad outcome. ... Comedy has a classical meaning (comical theatre) and a popular one (the use of humour with an intent to provoke[[ laughter in general). ...


Aristotle's treatise on this subject is his Poetics. Aristotles Poetics aims to give an account of poetry. ...


Various aspects and contributions by other authors

Walter Kaufmann in Tragedy and Philosophy Ch.II suggests that we translate mimêsis in Aristotle’s Poetics as “make-believe”. Walter Arnold Kaufmann (July 1, 1921 - September 4, 1980) was a 20th-century Jewish German philosopher, scholar, and poet. ...


Michael Davis, a translator and commentator of Aristotle writes:

At first glance, mimêsis seems to be a stylizing of reality in which the ordinary features of our world are brought into focus by a certain exaggeration, the relationship of the imitation to the object it imitates being something like the relationship of dancing to walking. Imitation always involves selecting something from the continuum of experience, thus giving boundaries to what really has no beginning or end. Mimêsis involves a framing of reality that announces that what is contained within the frame is not simply real. Thus the more “real” the imitation the more fraudulent it becomes. (The Poetry of Philosophy, p.3)

More recently Erich Auerbach, Merlin Donald, and René Girard have written about mimesis. Erich Auerbach (November 9, 1892 in Berlin - October 13, 1957 in Wallingford, Connecticut) was a German philologist and comparative scholar and critic of literature. ... Merlin Wilfred Donald (born November 17, 1939) is a Canadian psychologist and cognitive neuroscientist, and a researcher, educator, and author in the corresponding fields. ... René Girard is a French philosopher, historian and philologist. ...


Michael Taussig, the anthropologist, in his book Mimesis and Alterity looks at the way people from one culture adopt another's nature and culture (mimesis), at the same time as distancing themselves from it (alterity). He describes how a legendary tribe, the 'white Indians', or Cuna, have adopted in various representations figures and images reminiscent of the white people they encountered in the past (without acknowledging doing so). Please wikify (format) this article or section as suggested in the Guide to layout and the Manual of Style. ...


Taussig, however, criticises anthropology for reducing yet another culture , that of the Cuna, for having been so impressed by their exotic (and superior) technologies of the Whites, that they raised them to the status of Gods. To Taussig, this reductionism is suspect, and he argues thus from both sides in his Mimesis and Alterity, to see values in the anthropologists' perspective, at the same time as defending the independence of a lived culture from anthropological reductionism. (Taussig 1993:47,48)


For a discussion of mimesis in seventeenth-century aesthetic discourse see: Williamson, Mark A. "The Martyrdom Paintings of Jusepe de Ribera:Catharsis and Transformation", PhD Dissertation, Binghamton University, Binghamton, New York 2000 (available online at myspace.com/markwilliamson13732)


Mimesis in contrast to diegesis

It was also Plato and Aristotle who contrasted mimesis with diegesis. In diegesis it is not the form in which a work of art represents reality but that in which the author is the speaker who is describing events in the narrative he presents to the audience.
It is in diegesis that the author addresses the audience or the readership directly as a narrator to express his freely creative art of the imagination, of fantasies and dreams in contrast to mimesis. Diegesis was thought of as telling: the author narrating action indirectly and describing what is in the characters' minds and emotions, while mimesis is seen in terms of showing what is going on in the characters' inner thoughts and emotions through their external actions and their acting. According to Gerald Prince in A Dictionary of Narratology, diegesis is (1) The (fictional) world in which the situations and events narrated occur; (2) Telling, recounting, as opposed to showing, enacting. ...


What it does

In the arts, mimesis is considered to be re-presenting the human emotions in new ways and thus representing to the onlooker, listener or reader the inherent nature of these emotions and the psychological truth of the work of art. Emotional redirects here. ...


Mimesis and literary creation

Mimesis is thus thought to be a means of perceiving the emotions of the characters on stage or in the book; or the truth of the figures as they appear in sculpture or in painting; or the emotions as they are being configured in music, and of their being recognised by the onlooker as part of their human condition. A sculpture is a three-dimensional object, which for the purposes of this article is man-made and selected for special recognition as art. ... For building painting, see painter and decorator. ...


Mimesis as opposed to catharsis are two basic notions on which Freud relies to explain the psychological intricacy of the relation between the author and his work, the hero and the reader/spectator as the process of literary creation is akin to that of dreaming awake. Charles Mauron [[1]] starts from this fundamental theory to propose a structured method to analyse the unconscious roots and purpose of artistic creation. Identification and empathy are unconscious dynamic processes that account for the acting out of taboos. The creator and the reader/spectator symbolically identify and expurgate similar repressed desires, whether they be biographical or archetypal. Thus, when we read about Proust's oral emotions reminding him of his aunt Leonie, we share a similar affect. The hero is but an avatar of the artist's double. Catharsis is the Greek Katharsis word meaning purification or cleansing derived from the ancient Greek gerund καθαίρειν transliterated as kathairein to purify, purge, and adjective katharos pure or clean (ancient and modern Greek: καθαρός). // The term in drama refers to a sudden emotional breakdown or climax that constitutes overwhelming feelings of great... Sigmund Freud His famous couch Sigmund Freud (May 6, 1856 - September 23, 1939) was an Austrian neurologist and the founder of the psychoanalytic school of psychology, a movement that popularized the theory that unconscious motives control much behavior. ... Heroine (female hero) redirects here. ... Empathy (from the Greek εμπάθεια, to make suffer) is commonly defined as ones ability to recognize, perceive and directly experientially feel the emotion of another. ... This article does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... This article is about cultural prohibitions in general, for other uses, see Taboo (disambiguation). ... Look up desire in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... The name Proust can refer to: Antonin Proust (1832-1905), French journalist and politician Joseph Proust (1754-1826), French chemist Marcel Proust (1871-1922), French author This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists other pages that might otherwise share the same title. ... Look up oral in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Look up affect in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... The ten avatars of Lord Vishnu, copyright BBT In Hindu philosophy, an avatar, avatara or avataram (Sanskrit: , IAST: ), most commonly refers to the incarnation (bodily manifestation) of a higher being (deva), or the Supreme Being (God) onto planet Earth. ... Look up double in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ...


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Mimesis and the theatre

A significant example of the intuitive use of this poetic function is the pantomime or play-within-the-play in Shakespeare's Hamlet: the acknowledged aim is to provoke Claudius and expose his guilt. But at the same time, this will be the only action Hamlet will be able to take: it dramatizes his inner conflict: through it, he both achieves the murderous desire and identifies with the murderer. Serge Sudeikins poster for the Bat Theatre (1922). ... The Christmas Pantomime colour lithograph bookcover, 1890 Pantomime (informally, panto) refers to a theatrical genre, traditionally found in Great Britain, Australia, South Africa, New Zealand and Ireland, which is usually performed around the Christmas and New Year holiday season. ... Shakespeare redirects here. ... Hamlet is a tragedy by William Shakespeare, one of his best-known works and the most-quoted play in the English language. ... For other persons named Claudius, see Claudius (disambiguation). ...


Examples

In sculpture, mimesis manifests the three-dimensional plasticity of an image an onlooker has with which he can empathize within a given situation. In Rodin's The Kiss, for example, the protective arms of the male and seeming trustfulness of the female figure enclosed within her partner's limbs, down to the stance of their feet, is a position all humans would recognize immediately in that the trust and truth that permeates the erotic element of the statue is that which is entailed in the relationship of any man and woman in a similar situation. A sculpture is a three-dimensional object, which for the purposes of this article is man-made and selected for special recognition as art. ... In common usage, an image (from Latin imago) or picture is an artifact that reproduces the likeness of some subject—usually a physical object or a person. ... Rodins The Burghers of Calais in Calais, France. ... This article is about the sculpture created by Auguste Rodin. ...


In Picasso's Guernica, the artist re-presents the destruction of life and the terror it causes in a way this kind of cubistic image lends itself to most dramatically. The fractured details of the composition, the tortured faces, the screams that may be almost audibly imagined, the terrified horse, the bull, the dismembered limbs: all these things help to make the picture most memorable for the truth it brings to the observer. However, the face of the woman holding a light may be seen either as a face of stoic resignation throwing light on the devastation, or a face of luciferous evil swooping in malevolent satisfaction. A young Pablo Picasso Pablo Picasso, formally Pablo Ruiz Picasso, (October 25, 1881 - April 8, 1973) was one of the recognized masters of 20th century art. ... Guernica is one of the most famous paintings by Pablo Picasso, depicting the consequences of the bombing of Guernica. ... This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... Lucifer, as depicted in Collin de Plancys Dictionnaire Infernal (1863). ...


In Beethoven's "6th Symphony" (the Pastoral), music re-presents the various stages of a stay in the country, of a person's emotions and moods that are metamorphosed into movements of music most faithfully corresponding to these emotions. Thus, the pleasurable anticipation on arrival in the country; the various happy scenes of their associating with countryfolk; a shepherd's song; birdsongs; a storm and the thankfulness after it is over; all will be observed and recognised readily by the audience. 1820 portrait by Joseph Karl Stieler Ludwig van Beethoven (IPA: ), (baptized December 17, 1770[1] – March 26, 1827) was a German composer. ... Ludwig van Beethovens Symphony No. ... Titians The Pastoral Concert Pastoral refers to the lifestyle of shepherds and pastoralists, moving livestock around larger areas of land according to seasons and availability of water and feed. ... For other uses, see Music (disambiguation). ... A song is a relatively short musical composition. ... Bird song refers to the sounds, usually melodious to the human ear, made by many birds of the order Passeriformes as a form of communication. ...


References

  • Erich Auerbach, Mimesis: The Representation of Reality in Western Literature, Princeton University Press, 1953 (with reprints).
  • Michael Davis, The Poetry of Philosophy - On Aristotle's Poetics, St Augustine's Press, 1999. ISBN 1890318620
  • Walter Kaufmann, Tragedy and Philosophy, Princeton University Press, 1992, ISBN 0-691-02005-1.
  • Michael Taussig, Mimesis and Alterity: a Particular History of the Senses, Routledge, 1993.
  • Władysław Tatarkiewicz, A History of Six Ideas: an Essay in Aesthetics, translated from the Polish by Christopher Kasparek, The Hague, Martinus Nijhoff, 1980. (Traces the history of key aesthetics concepts, including art, beauty, form, creativity, mimesis, and the aesthetic experience.)
Look up Mimesis in
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  Results from FactBites:
 
mimesis (1828 words)
The OED defines mimesis as "a figure of speech, whereby the words or actions of another are imitated" and "the deliberate imitation of the behavior of one group of people by another as a factor in social change" [2].
Plato believed that mimesis was manifested in 'particulars' which resemble or imitate the forms from which they are derived; thus, the mimetic world (the world of representation and the phenomenological world) is inherently inferior in that it consists of imitations which will always be subordinate or subsidiary to their original [7].
Mimesis is positioned within the sphere of aesthetics, and the illusion produced by mimetic representation in art, literature, and music is viewed as alienating, inauthentic, deceptive, and inferior [8].
mimesis: Definition and Much More from Answers.com (1362 words)
Mimesis (μίμησις from μιμεîσθαι) in its simplest context means imitation or representation in Greek.
In the arts, mimesis is considered to be re-presenting the human emotions in new ways and thus representing to the onlooker, listener or reader the inherent nature of these emotions and the psychological truth of the work of art.
Thus, the pleasurable anticipation on arrival in the country; the various happy scenes of their associating with countryfolk; a shepherd's song; birdsongs; a storm and the thankfulness after it is over; all will be observed and recognised readily by the audience.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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