Whatever pole of this contrast one emphasizes and whatever the tension between these two approaches to understanding the artistic imagination, it will be readily seen that they are not mutually exclusive, that they belong together. Without the decay of a sense of objective reference (except as the imitation of mystery), the stress on subjective invention would never have been stimulated into being. And although these insights into the nature of art may be in themselves insufficient for a thoroughgoing philosophy of art, their peculiar authenticity in this day and age requires that they be taken seriously and gives promise that from their very substance, new and valid chapters in the philosophy of art may be written. For better or worse we cannot regard ``imitation'' in the arts in the simple mode of classical rationalism or detached realism. A broader concept of imitation is needed, one which acknowledges that true invention is important, that the artist's creativity in part transcends the non artistic causal factors out of which it arises. On the other hand, we cannot regard artistic invention as pure, uncaused, and unrelated to the times in which it occurs. We need a doctrine of imitation to save us from the solipsism and futility of pure formalism. Accordingly, it is the aim of this essay to advance a new theory of imitation (which I shall call mimesis in order to distinguish it from earlier theories of imitation) and a new theory of invention (which I shall call symbol for reasons to be stated hereafter).