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February 25, 2007

EL312: Imitation is selective copycatting

It might seem like it would be redundant, considering that Keesey's chapter 4 introduction walked us through the concept of mimesis, but I had to see what The Bedford had to say on the subject.

Aristotle argued that art imitates nature, but that it should do so in a selective manner. A good part of the poet's artistry goes into choosing and arranging the events and elements that ought to be narrated; one does not simply represent any action in any manner or mimic that action precisely as one views or experiences it. (214)

In the same way that children choose what they will mimic from the behaviors of adults around them, Aristotle advises poets to select only the "events and elements that ought to be narrated. So what ought to be narrated? Is this when the poet achieves poetic license and writes about the most important events in his eyes?

I realize that in his Poetics Aristotle presented the types of action he thought that should be "presented via verbal art to the reader" (214). But The Bedford also cites the romantic period as the end of all that--"critics disagreed about the details (such as which actions were worthy of being represented)" (214). I find it interesting that so much changed in the romantic period... that might be worth investigating for a larger project... (*cough* note to self *cough*)

Murfin and Ray, Bedford Glossary of Critical and Literary Terms -- Jerz EL312 (Literary Criticism)

Posted by KarissaKilgore at February 25, 2007 11:02 AM


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