An outline of a theory of imagination

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Summary

Imagination can be seen 1) as a mental faculty common to all people to some degree and 2) as an important principle in literary theory. We must think of imagination not as a simple power but a complex series of processes, involving the impression-idea-relationship and memory. The data derived thus are still bound to their epistemological context, and only imagination provides the possibility to transcend the space-time-determination and the cause-effect-relationship, so that it allows a freer display of the sense-data.

This structural and functional analysis of imagination tries to show its immense importance in everyday-life as well as in literary production and reception.