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Mimesis: From Mirror to Method, Augustine to Descartes (Critical Studies in the Humanities)
by:John D. Lyons, Stephen G. Nichols
is a critical collection focusing on the intersections of art, history, literature, philosophy, and theory. It is this fifth term, “theory,” that marked the volume’s significance during the early 1980s—a time of heightened conflict over the newly emerging role of “theory” in the humanities. As Stephen G. Nichols notes in his new preface, “[s]ince so much...
is a critical collection focusing on the intersections of art, history, literature, philosophy, and theory. It is this fifth term, “theory,” that marked the volume’s significance during the early 1980s—a time of heightened conflict over the newly emerging role of “theory” in the humanities. As Stephen G. Nichols notes in his new preface, “[s]ince so much poststructuralist thought has focused on representation, it was natural, if not inevitable, for scholars involved in the project to turn to mimesis, representation as imitation, for a concept that bridged the historical and the contemporary.” This, of course, has not been the first time that mimesis has played a key role in “bridging” an intellectual divide. The onto-theological dimension of Medieval thought brings together the Judeo-Christian Creator and the Platonic-Aristotelian metaphysics of Being as just one instance of the importance of mimesis in conjoining philosophical divisions. From Eugene Vance’s exploration of Augustine’s metaphysics to Timothy J. Reiss’s discussion of representation and modern political theory, offers a truly interdisciplinary and wide-ranging historical inquiry into a foundational concept in the arts, literature, and philosophy. First published in an era in which “theory” was portrayed as the antithesis of humanistic study, this collection provides a necessary account of a new synthesis of the humanities and theoretical inquiry. With the persisting tensions within the humanities now over the future of theory, recaptures a critical element in this long debate, providing a sophisticated analysis of mimesis and demonstrating a unique theoretical method of scholarship.
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