Theses Doctoral

The Meaning in Mimesis: Philosophy, Aesthetics, Acting Theory

Larlham, Daniel

Theatre as mimesis, the actor as mimic: can we still think in these terms, two and a half millennia after antiquity? The Meaning in Mimesis puts canonical texts of acting theory by Plato, Diderot, Stanislavsky, Brecht, and others back into conversation with their informing paradigms in philosophy and aesthetics, in order to trace the recurring impulse to theorize the actor's art and the theatrical experience in terms of one-to-one correspondences. I show that, across the history of ideas that is acting theory, the familiar conception of mimesis as imagistic representation entangles over and over again with an "other mimesis": mimesis as the embodied attunement with alterity, a human capacity that bridges the gap between self and other. When it comes to the philosophy of the theatre, it is virtually impossible to consider the one-to-one of representation or re-enactment without at the same time grappling with the one-to-one of identification or vicarious experience.


  • thumnail for Larlham_columbia_0054D_10624.pdf Larlham_columbia_0054D_10624.pdf application/pdf 981 KB Download File

More About This Work

Academic Units
Thesis Advisors
Aronson, Arnold P.
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
April 2, 2014