Francesco Giusti

Imitating the Birds: Metamorphosis of a Lyric Topos

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Poetry; Nightingale; Mimesis; Cognitive Act; Desire; Imitation; Philomela.

"Mimesis", as the very basis of a literary work, is a cognitive act which involves an experiencing human subject and a real or mental object which is the selected object of a "mimetic desire". But, "mimesis" is not always the same. It can change along centuries from Alcman's imitation of partridges' song as the origin of his poetry to the cacophonic "Jug Jug" of Eliot's painted nightingale. It can assume new functions and new modes. It can reveal different relations between the subject (the lyric speaker, in this case) and the desired object. Beginning with Plato, Aristotle and Alcman and arriving to Eliot's "The waste land", the article does not want to give a comprehensive definition of "mimesis", but it intends to see how and, perhaps, why it works in a few lyric poems selected in the European tradition. A preferred object of mimesis has been chosen, it is the nightingale, because it is historically a favourite symbol of the lyric poet, and the genre chosen as field of investigation is specifically lyric poetry.

Trova nel catalogo di Worldcat

Article first page

Article first page