(3960 words)
  • Alfred D. White (University of Wales, Cardiff)

Literary/ Cultural Context Essay

For over two millennia, from the sixth century BCE, the view prevailed that mimesis (from the Greek mimo for mime play) was the attempt by means of creative art to produce an imitation of a copy of objects which exist in an non-subjective reality: at its purest, mimesis was mimicry, close-copying, and the deception of the perceiver by a visual illusion, a trompe l’oeil or trickery of the eye. Such a view, taking the depiction to “resemble” its object, derived from Plato’s (425-347 BCE, q.v.) reductive metaphor of the painting as a mere mirror of reality, a copy of a world of objects which were, in themselves, merely copies of Ideas, and for that reason highly deceptive and banned from the …

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White, Alfred D.. "Mimesis". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 29 August 2006
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/stopics.php?rec=true&UID=727, accessed 27 September 2016.]