In literature and rhetorical studies, the mimetic fallacy is a work's (possibly unsuccessful) attempt to convey an emotional state or idea by writing in a manner that corresponds to that state. For example, a writer using confusing and foggy terms to express or describe a besotted character's chaotic thoughts is falling prey to the mimetic fallacy. This is not necessarily a bad thing; however, relying on the mimetic fallacy too much can lead to careless writing and a finished product that is incomprehensible to the reader.

See Lady Mary Wroth's Pamphilia to Amphilanthus sonnet cycle for examples of the mimetic fallacy. Sonnet 89, reproduced here, illustrates the idea of mimesis:

Free from all fogs, but shining fair, and clear
Wise in all good, and innocent in ill
Where holy friendship is esteemèd dear
With truth in love, and justice in our will,
In Love these titles only have their fill
Of happy life maintainer, and the mere
Defence of right, the punisher of skill,
And fraud, from whence directions doth appear,
To thee then lord commander of all hearts
Ruler of our affections kind, and just
Great King of Love, my soul from feignèd smarts
Or thought of change I offer to your trust
This crown, my self, and all that I have more
Except my heart which you bestowed before.

After a series of poems in which Pamphilia, the speaker, describes the confusion she feels when being in love ("in this strange labourinth how shall I turn?"), her subsequent statement here that love is "Free from all fogs" is a direct contradiction both of what she says earlier and what she will say in later sonnets. Similarly, "from whence directions doth appear" literally refers to love's providing the directions on how to solve the labyrinth, which also represents love in sonnets 77 and 90.

In fact, the entire corona of the sonnet cycle can be viewed as one large example of the mimetic fallacy at work, since the fact that each sonnet's first line is the previous one's last line gives the impression of love as a neverending cycle--but, as sonnets tend to be, they are frequently confusing to the reader, thus obscuring the deeper meanings that the author might have intended to depict. Essentially, the key part of an attempt at evoking mimesis that turns it into a mimetic fallacy is the erroneous belief that use of mimesis, in that particular case, is successful in the purpose for which it is intended.

I want my job title to be "happy life maintainer".

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