Cover: The Function of Mimesis and Its Decline, from Harvard University PressCover: The Function of Mimesis and Its Decline in E-DITION

The Function of Mimesis and Its Decline

Product Details


$65.00 • £54.95 • €60.00

ISBN 9780674733879

Publication Date: 01/01/1968

317 pages


Available from De Gruyter »

Media Requests:

Related Subjects

Harvard University Press has partnered with De Gruyter to make available for sale worldwide virtually all in-copyright HUP books that had become unavailable since their original publication. The 2,800 titles in the “e-ditions” program can be purchased individually as PDF eBooks or as hardcover reprint (“print-on-demand”) editions via the “Available from De Gruyter” link above. They are also available to institutions in ten separate subject-area packages that reflect the entire spectrum of the Press’s catalog. More about the E-ditions Program »

In the first thorough study of the subject, John D. Boyd describes how the critical concept of the function of mimesis, the imitation of life in literature, evolved during the twenty-three centuries of the mimetic tradition’s hegemony. He focuses on two crucial points in the tradition: the birth of the idea of autonomous contemplation in Aristotle’s Poetics, and its decline in the moralism of eighteenth-century England. Within this framework Father Boyd examines the concept in the light of Plato’s attitude toward poets, Horace’s pragmatic formula of utile dulci, the significant influences of rhetorical theory and Christianity, and the rise of scientism, rationalism, and sentimentalism.

Recent News

Black lives matter. Black voices matter. A statement from HUP »

From Our Blog

Jacket: Iron and Blood: A Military History of the German-Speaking Peoples since 1500, by Peter Wilson, from Harvard University Press

A Lesson in German Military History with Peter Wilson

In his landmark book Iron and Blood: A Military History of the German-Speaking Peoples since 1500, acclaimed historian Peter H. Wilson offers a masterful reappraisal of German militarism and warfighting over the last five centuries, leading to the rise of Prussia and the world wars. Below, Wilson answers our questions about this complex history,