Topics in Literature and Philosophy: Mimetic Faculties

A seminar on ideas of the "mimetic faculty," as Walter Benjamin defined it: the capacity to perceive similarities and the "compulsion to become similar." Through close study of selected ancient, medieval and modern accounts of imitation, particularly in language and literature, we explore some of the promises and perils of becoming alike. Topics to be discussed include simile and likeness; the poetic syllogism; animal mimicry; ancient divinatory practices and their modern legacies; play; gesture; onomatopoeia; translation; homophony.
Course Number: 
011764
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Catalog Number: 
580
Instructors: 
Catalog Number: 
513