Imitating Style

Peter Lamarque

in Work and Object

Published in print June 2010 | ISBN: 9780199577460
Published online September 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191722998 | DOI:
Imitating Style

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This chapter offers and contrasts two definitions of style: a feature-based definition, according to which style is determined by intrinsic properties; and an act-based definition, where style is characterized as a way of doing something. Also presented is the distinction, from Richard Wollheim and Jenefer Robinson, between individual and general styles, where the former but not the latter express underlying psychological states. A central question concerns what limits there are on the imitation or reproduction of individual styles. Cases of parody and forgery are examined – Max Beerbohm's parodies of Henry James and van Meegeren's forgeries of Vermeer – and the conclusion is drawn that however good these imitations are they fail to capture the individual styles of their target, at least on the act-based definition.

Keywords: style; feature-based definition; act-based definition; Wollheim; Robinson; individual style; general style; parody; forgery; Beerbohm

Chapter.  5655 words. 

Subjects: Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art

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