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Mimesis ({{#invoke:IPAc-en|main}}; Ancient Greek: μίμησις{{#invoke:Category handler|main}} (mīmēsis), from μιμεῖσθαι (mīmeisthai), "to imitate," from μῖμος (mimos), "imitator, actor") is a critical and philosophical term that carries a wide range of meanings, which include imitation, representation, mimicry, imitatio, receptivity, nonsensuous similarity, the act of resembling, the act of expression, and the presentation of the self.<ref>Gebauer and Wulf (1992, 1).</ref>

In ancient Greece, mimesis was an idea that governed the creation of works of art, in particular, with correspondence to the physical world understood as a model for beauty, truth, and the good. Plato contrasted mimesis, or imitation, with diegesis, or narrative. After Plato, the meaning of mimesis eventually shifted toward a specifically literary function in ancient Greek society, and its use has changed and been reinterpreted many times since then.

One of the best-known modern studies of mimesis, understood as a form of realism in literature, is Erich Auerbach's Mimesis: The Representation of Reality in Western Literature, which opens with a famous comparison between the way the world is represented in Homer's Odyssey and the way it appears in the Bible. From these two seminal Western texts, Auerbach builds the foundation for a unified theory of representation that spans the entire history of Western literature, including the Modernist novels being written at the time Auerbach began his study. In art history, "mimesis", "realism" and "naturalism" are used, often interchangeably, as terms for the accurate, even "illusionistic", representation of the visual appearance of things.

The Frankfurt school critical theorist T. W. Adorno made use of mimesis as a central philosophical term, interpreting it as a way in which works of art embodied a form of reason that was non-repressive and non-violent.<ref>Karla L. Schultz (1990) Mimesis on the move: Theodor W. Adorno's concept of imitation, Peter Lang AG, ISBN 3-261-04208-7</ref>

Mimesis has been theorised by thinkers as diverse as Plato, Aristotle, Philip Sidney, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Adam Smith, Sigmund Freud, Walter Benjamin, Paul Ross, Theodor Adorno, Erich Auerbach, Luce Irigaray, Jacques Derrida, René Girard, Nikolas Kompridis, Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe, Michael Taussig, Merlin Donald, and Homi Bhabha.{{ safesubst:#invoke:Unsubst||date=__DATE__ |$B= {{#invoke:Category handler|main}}{{#invoke:Category handler|main}}[citation needed] }}

Mimesis sections
Intro  Classical definitions  Samuel Taylor Coleridge  Luce Irigaray  Michael Taussig  See also  Notes  References  External links  

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