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How popular are anti-mimetic theories of literature, and with whom?

A bad but clear example of supposed mimesis, in writing, is the idea that 'cow' is a slow and irritating word, because of its phonemes.

Specifically, should it be limited to modernists overawed by Saussure? I'm especially interested in answers that draw on the Russian Formalists.


And ideally, Jakobson.

Having not read him, I can't make sense of whether his definition of poetic language, "the projection of the principle of equivalence from the axis of selection to the axis of combination", does, or does not, displace sound from meaning. I think at least "most" lit theorists think so, but can't quite see how. Given that formalist criticism is not itself closed but can offer criticism of principles of composition -- and so 'equivalence'.

A little speculative thought that, perhaps.

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    Anti-mimesis is usually associated with modernists and postmodernists, see Rethinking Mimesis:"Despite some modern and postmodern trends that dismissed the questions of representation from the theory of art in favour of language-games or purely formal considerations of some other kind, the interest in artistic and literary representation has not diminished". See also Cohen's book Anti-Mimesis. But interestingly, Adorno, in many ways a forerunner of postmodernism, is known for his view of art as "refuge for mimetic behavior".
    – Conifold
    Commented Nov 7, 2017 at 20:39
  • @Conifold the cohen book looks fun! but not sure i've used the term 'mimesis' right, now.
    – user29299
    Commented Nov 7, 2017 at 21:22

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