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The Invention of SuspicionLaw and Mimesis in Shakespeare and Renaissance Drama$
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Lorna Hutson

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199212439

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199212439.001.0001

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Judicial Narrative and Dramatic Mimesis

Judicial Narrative and Dramatic Mimesis

Chapter:
(p.104) 3 Judicial Narrative and Dramatic Mimesis
Source:
The Invention of Suspicion
Author(s):

Lorna Hutson (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199212439.003.0004

This chapter argues that recent critiques of older mimetic approaches to Shakespeare have tended to neglect the contribution of narrative coherence or plot to mimesis. Following Ricoeur's exposition of the quasi-equivalence between plot and mimesis proposed by Aristotle's Poetics, it proposes that dramatic mimesis is, more than has been realized, an effect of narrative coherence. It then goes on to show the extent to which the pedagogy of narrative was, in the 16th century, based on classical judicial rhetoric, which emphasized the importance of narrative in constituting the facts as plausible by making them coherent and circumstantially vivid, or ‘evident’. Finally, it offers a number of dramatic examples that show how vivid but questionable narratives of staged and unstaged events contribute powerfully to the mimetic illusion of prose narrative or drama.

Keywords:   mimesis, narrative, narratio, enargeia, evidentia, circumstantial narrative, Shakespeare, Hamlet, Sidney, Old Arcadia

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