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Literary mimesis is an age-old concept which has been variously interpreted and at times highly contested, and which has recently been brought back to the forefront of scholarly interest. The debate around mimesis has been reactivated by approaches that re-evaluate its meaning both in the ancient texts in which it first appeared, and in the contemporary discussions of the power of literary representation. This volume presents a selection of central contributions to both the theoretical debate on mimesis and to its up-to-date critical practice. This volume approaches mimesis by emphasising the principles of knowledge, understanding and imagination that have been associated with mimesis since Aristotle’s Poetics. The articles consider the various aspects of the concept throughout history, and explore the ways in which literature produces its peculiar reality effects and negotiates its relationship to value systems connecting it to the world of everyday experience and ethics, as well as to different ideologies, emotions, world views and fields of knowledge. Building on this rich theoretical background, the articles examine the limits and possibilities of mimesis through detailed textual analyses that present acute challenges to our current understanding of literary representation.