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Seven interactive essays on digital nonlinear storytelling
edited by Matt Soar & Monika Gagnon

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Affective-Expressive Poetics

Earl Miner makes important distinctions between Western mimetic traditions of narrative, founded on drama, plot and Aristotle's "imitation of an action"; and non-Western, particularly Asian, nonmimetic or "affective-expressive" narrative traditions founded on the lyric. A lyric poet expresses in words the emotions and sensations of being in the world. A dramatist constructs subjective and objective representations of the world. Affective-expressive narratives do not require plot to hold events together as they are often episodic "ensembles" of event, voice and image. Unlike the anti-mimesis of Western postmodernism, a rebellion against realist art with its presumption that the world is knowable, nonmimetic narratives share with mimesis a belief in the world.

“Japanese aesthetic . . . rests not on the imitation of discrete agencies but on relation. Relational aesthetics presumes that the narrator and the reader and the object of attention take on their being in respect to each other. Once this three-radical set of relationships is presumed, the world can be found as real and knowable in the affective knowledge provided by those relationships as the world is knowable in mimetic practice."

Earl Miner, "The Grounds of Mimetic and Nonmimetic Art: The Wester Sister Arts in a Japanese Mirror," in Articulate Images: The Sister Arts from Hogarth to Tennyson, ed. Richard Wendorf (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1983), 93.
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