Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy

Volume 13, Issue 1, Fall 2008

Daniel L. Tate
Pages 185-208

Transforming Mimesis
Gadamer’s Retrieval of Aristotle’s Poetics

This essay traces the trajectory of Gadamer’s retrieval of mimesis by reconstructing his interpretation of Aristotle’s Poetics. Mimesis names the transformation that takes place when the work constitutes a structure (Gebilde) that offers a presentation (Darstellung) in which the spectator participates. The reconstruction treats Gadamer’s interpretation of mythos, mimesis, and katharsis as he appropriates them to his understanding of the work as a “transformation into structure” which is a “transformation into the true” that effects a self-transformation in the spectator. By transforming mimesis Gadamer retrieves this ancient concept for the hermeneutic understanding of the work of art as an event of being.