A topic that has become increasingly central to the study of art, performance and literature, the term mimesis has long been used to refer to the relationship between an image and its 'real' original. However, recent theorists have extended the concept, highlighting new perspectives on key concerns, such as the nature of identity.
Matt Potolsky presents a clear introduction to this potentially daunting concept, examining:
- the foundations of mimetic theory in ancient philosophy, from Plato to Aristotle
- three key versions of mimesis: imitatio or rhetorical imitation, theatre and theatricality, and artistic realism
- the position of mimesis in modern theories of identity and culture, through theorists such as Freud, Lacan, Girard and Baudrillard
- the possible future of mimetic theory in the concept of 'memes', which connects evolutionary biology and theories of cultural reproduction.
A multidisciplinary study of a term rapidly returning to the forefront of contemporary theory, Mimesis is a welcome guide for readers in such fields as literature, performance and cultural studies.
About the Author: Matthew Potolsky is Assistant Professor of English at the University of Utah where he teaches literary theory and modern British and comparative literature. He is co-editor of Perennial Decay: On the Aesthetics and Politics of Decadence (1999) and has published on theory and late nineteenth century writing.