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March 11, 2007

mirror, mirror on the wall

Keesey, Ch 5 (Introduction) -- Jerz EL312 (Literary Criticism)

"The mirror may tell us what we are; memory may tell us what we were; but only imagination can tell us what we might be. It is the function of art to provide these imagined worlds, and to extent that artists work with the materials of this world, they must not copy but transform those materials" (268).

Our imagination used when reading a piece of literature is based on a mimetic view of life. The authors use the reality of the world, not copying it but putting it in to their own words that reflect our ending imagination of the work and the world. Our memory can tell us who we were, but our imagination allows for us as readers to view our life as clay; we are able to mold our life and imaginations and views of life however we want. Authors influence our imaginations with their stories that are mimetic to reality. The book may reflect the real world, like a mirror, but our memory allows to see ourselves in the past allowing our imagination to take over and present us with a new outlook on the reading eventually leading us to a new outlook on the world.
Authors transform not the raw material of the world but conventions of their medium and conventions of literature are worth studying because they are mimetic, because they imitate life.

Posted by Denamarie at March 11, 2007 4:42 PM

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Dena, see this is why we are friends! When it comes to lit, we usually get along pretty well. I really thought that the intro could be molded, like the clay you mention, about our imaginations, to help support the mimetic argument as well as intertextuality. Oh my gosh it just can't be snowing right now. Grrr. Anyway, I really liked this quote also because it mentions the ideal of literature ("imagination can tell us what we might be") and that might not seem realistic except that it is because people really do have ideals and so literature is just a menthod of expressing our ideals and our desires to reach them. And that truly is mimetic like you say.

Posted by: Lorin at March 15, 2007 2:35 PM

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