Nor can a good (philosophical) version of imitation work as oppositeto the poetic kind. Plato recognizes a salutary function thatimitations sometimes have, even the function of drawing the mindtoward knowledge. But he offers no more than hints about positivemimêsis. There is no account of sound imitation thatwould counterweigh the attacks in the Republic. In any casethis is a constructive turn that never seems to be made available topoems or paintings. If good imitation does exist, its home is notamong the arts. Still the idea invites a worthwhile question: Is thereanything human beings can produce that would functionoppositely to mimetic poetry? Inspiration is the most promisingpossibility.


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