Mimesis and Its Romantic Reflections

Mimesis and Its Romantic Reflections

Frederick Burwick


In Romantic theories of paintings and literature, the idea of mimesis—defined as art’s mirrored image of the exterior world—became introspective and self-reflexive as poets and artists sought to symbolize the act of creativity itself. Frederick Burwick seeks to explain this Romantic aesthetic, first by means of providing an realizing of key Romantic mimetic suggestions after which through interpreting manifestations of the mimetic method in literary works of the period.

Burwick explores the mimetic options of "art for art's sake," "Idem et Alter," and "palingenesis of brain as artwork" by way of drawing at the theories of Philo of Alexandria, Aristotle, Immanuel Kant, Friedrich Schiller, Friederich Wilhelm Joseph von Schelling, Thomas De Quincey, and Germaine de Staël. Having validated the philosophical bases of those key mimetic recommendations, Burwick analyzes manifestations of mimesis within the literature of the interval, together with ekphrasis within the paintings of Thomas De Quincey, reflected photographs within the poems of Samuel Taylor Coleridge and William Wordsworth, and the twice-told story within the novels of Charles Brockden Brown, E. T. A. Hoffmann, and James Hogg. even if artists of this era have frequently been brushed off in discussions of mimesis, Burwick demonstrates that mimetic recommendations comprised a tremendous component to the Romantic aesthetic.

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