Authority: Mimesis And Authority

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We have split the word authority in the title to show that it is polysemous. It comprises two words which are closely related in classical philosophy. These are authority and author. These two terms have different but related historical and philosophical associations. This makes the question of authority a complex one. Modern philosophy and Renaissance interest in empirical science are usually seen “as a reaction to the prevailing stifling Aristotelianism […] taken as synonym for extreme conservatism and appeal to authority.” (Proudfoot and Lacey 25) The concept therefore is related to the question of truth. It is also related to history. Indeed, authority is to refer to the past for “authentication”. The ancient authors are usually seen as the ultimate reference for knowledge and art, which explains why the ancient conception of art is based on mimesis. The term has “two primary senses: […] a representation of some ideal object (Plato) and […] something that is made by some causal process (Aristotle). In either case, art was conceived as a form of mimesis.” (Townsend 208) Mimesis and authority share a structural duality related to time. Indeed, causality and imitation presuppose a linearity that in fact is a hierarchy. In literary criticism, authority is usually defined as:
The power that comes from the assumption of
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He is Shakespeare the actor and Shakespeare the author. He comes onstage to state his claim to unlimited authority. He comes in questionable shape and says that he knows all about the past and the future. He also is the castrating fatherly presence. His entering (or better intrusion) in the closet scene dis-empowers the Prince both sexually and politically. These two realms are yoked together in the aesthetics of hidden-ness. The latter concept is quite intriguing. Indeed, unlike the invisible, the hidden is sublime because it is ultimately accessible, but no one except the author has access to
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