Do words-their sounds and shapes, their lengths and patterns-imitate the world? Mimology says they do. First argued in Plato's Cratylus more than two thousand years ago, mimology has left an important mark in virtually every major art and artistic theory thereafter. Fascinating and many-faceted, mimology is the basis of language sciences and incites occasional hilarity. Its complicated traditions require a sure grip but a light touch. One of the few scholars capable of giving mimology such genial attention is Gerard Genette. Genette treats matters as basic and staid as the alphabet and as reverberating as the letter R in ur-linguistics. Genette has emerged as one of the two or three chief literary critics of modern France. He is the major practitioner of narratological criticism, a pioneer in structuralism, and a much admired literary historian. His single most important book, Mimologics bridges mainstream literary history and Genette's expertise in critical method by undertaking an intensive study of the most vexed of literary problems: language as a representation of reality. Deeply learned, the book draws upon the traditions-both sane and eccentric-of philosophy, linguistics, poetics, and comparative literature.