This Journal issue deals with the relation between diegesis and mimesis in drama and in genres which share aspects of drama, consciously and metatextually blending narrative and dialogue. It assumes that there exists a theoretical problem concerning different conceptions of these two notions, which derives from Plato’s and Aristotle’s different treatment of them and, today, by the opposite approaches shown by narratologists and theatre semioticians. The articles here collected do not discuss such theoretical questions. Instead, they examine the function of narration and dialogue within a selected number of significant examples foregrounding their generic, performative, and ‘ideological’ functions from the Antiquity to contemporaneity. The notion of mimesis as artistic representation is also questioned when theatre comes to interrogate the idea of counterfactuality vis-a-vis its power to construct and deconstruct our historical memories on stage. It is also explored in the context of postdramatic theatre when mimesis enters the field of a generative ontology eroding the concept itself of representation. In all cases, whether narrative on stage concerns messenger-speeches or other types of diegetic performances, diegesis is considered as a collaborative mode, rather than an antagonistic category in respect to mimetic dialogue. The introduction draws a synopsis of some of the main issues and theoretical questions currently debated by narratologists and semioticians alike, laying the ground for the following articles to explore the possibilities for a fruitful integration of diegesis and mimesis over time.
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