The Play of Man

Chapter 6: Imitative Plays

Karl Groos

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The Tschwi negroes have a proverb to the effect that " no one teaches the smith's Ron his trade; when he is ready to work God shows him how"; and I. G. Christaller obtained the following explanation from one of the

(281) aborigines: "If you have a trade, and a son who watches you at work, he easily learns it. God has implanted in children the faculty of observing and imitating, and when the son does what he has seen his father do so often it is as if he knew of himself. It is, indeed, God who teaches him! " And this childlike elucidation is not a bad one of the significance of playful imitation in life. The inborn impulse enables a child to learn alone what he either could not do at all or only after painful and wearisome teaching. Imitation is the connecting link between instinctive and intelligent conduct. Thanks to it we can add much to our accomplishments without other instruction, and in a manner agreeable to ourselves, for enjoyment of its exercise is natural, so that, to use the language of the African, it is indeed God who teaches us.

The earlier psychologists gave too little attention to imitation. The work of Tarde[1] and Baldwin [2] has first brought to many the knowledge that it is probably destined to win a prominent place in biological psychology, similar to that accorded to the idea of association in the older theories. At any rate these investigators have certainly expanded the common acceptation of the term. Tarde says of a man who unconsciously and involuntarily reflects the bearing of others or accepts outside suggestion, that he is imitating, and he regards such magnified imitation as a special case of the great cosmic law of repetition (ondulation, génération, and imitation are the three forms of " répétition universelle "). Baldwin calls stimulus-repeating repetition in general imitation (so far as it is produced by the organism itself), and so includes the alternate expansion and contraction in the lowest organic forms. According to him, the essence of imitation lies in the fact that when movement follows a stimulus, the stimulus is renewed, giving rise to what may be called "circular" reaction. Imitation of the acts of another individual, from the perception of which a duplicate act results, is a specialized form of this circular

(282) reaction. Baldwin has tried to prove that the accommodation of an organism to its environment is a phenomenon of "organic imitation," and he grounds his new theory of "organic selection" on this principle. I can not here dwell longer on it than to say that it undertakes to mediate in the strife between neo-Darwinism and neo-Lamarckianism, since the survival of the individual with the necessary adaptibility gives selection time to produce hereditary adaptations with the same general trend (selection among coincident variations). Our purpose is best served by confining ourselves to the ordinary use of the term imitation, namely, "The repetition of the acts of one individual by another,"[3] as Lloyd -Morgan has defined it.

Even this is of the greatest biological and psychological import, since it is responsible for what Baldwin calls "social heredity "; the psychic heritage or " tradition," independent of physical heredity, [4] which hands down acquired habits from generation to generation. In using the word tradition, indeed, one naturally thinks more of habits acquired by their owner, who by precept and example imparts them to others, so that emphasis is laid first on the acts of the originator, though the inclination to impart would be fruitless without imitation on the part of the pupil. On close examination we find this literal use of the term far from satisfactory; as a rule, the acquisition of the habits of others depends entirely on the imitator, without. intentional assistance from the model, a distinction which finds expression in the common proverb that example is better than precept. The operation of this principle is apparent among the higher animals. Wallace lays great stress on it, though in a somewhat partial way. Weismann employs the word in its wider sense when he says: " A young finch which grows up alone sings untaught the song of its kind, though never so beautifully nor so perfectly as when an older bird which is a fine singer is given him as a teacher " (teacher is here not to be understood literally). "He is largely influenced by tradi

(283) -tion, though the fundamental principle of the finch's song is already implanted in his organization."[5] Indeed, the data of animal psychology give us a sort of experimental proof of the importance of the imitative impulse, since animals reared away from their own kind but with some other species are often strongly influenced by the alien models, in spite of their inborn instincts. An attempt to formulate satisfactorily the biological significance of imitation results somewhat as follows: To the higher animals imitation of their own species is an important adjunct to instinct. The young finch has, indeed, an inborn instinctive capacity for producing the note characteristic of his kind, but even with the assistance of experimentation this instinct is not adequate to his needs until imitation of practised singers rounds out, so to speak, the inherited capacity by means of acquired adaptations. It is evident that there are two ways of regarding this conception of imitation. The one which Baldwin develops is implied in Weismann's " already " when he says that the fundamental principle of the finch's song is " already " implanted in his organism, thus implying that imitation is an essential factor in the growth of his instinctive equipment. When the more intelligent individuals of a species have by means of independent accommodations made new life conditions for themselves they can manage to keep afloat by the aid of imitation until " natural selection, by favoring and furthering" coincident variations (those tending in the same direction), can substitute the lifeboat heredity for the life-preserver tradition.

The other view, as I have presented it in The Play of Animals, takes just the opposite ground—namely, that imitation enables the animal to dispense with instinct to a much greater degree than would otherwise be possible, and so gives free play to the evolution of intelligent control. Here we find imitation tending to relegate instinct to the category of things rudimentary, while, according to the hypothesis analyzed above, it favours the growth of instinct. " It is through instinct," says Baldwin in a

(284) notice of my earlier work, " that instincts both rise and decay." For our purpose the second view is evidently the more serviceable, since it is undeniable that in man at least, the transition from fixed instincts to more plastic tendencies, with their partial supplanting by acquired adaptations, has been the general course of phylogenetic evolution, and to this process imitation is of extraordinary value. [6]

Finally, in pursuance of the same line of thought, it seems that imitation, at least in man, goes far beyond instinct; for by his untrammelled relations to the external world man has been enabled to climb beyond the ground floor of Nature to a higher plane of culture. Yet of all his means of improvement none to speak of are physically inherited. Thus we see the idea of imitation expanded not only to supply the deficiencies of instinct "not yet" or "no longer" adequate, but to such an extent that on it depends the " social " heritage of culture from generation to generation. This powerful impulse, without which there could be no teaching, no handing down of anything to posterity, thus becomes the indispensable medium of continuity, and therefore the necessary postulate of a cumulative human culture, as opposed to one constantly recommencing ab ovo. But the further question arises, May we not be justified in calling the imitative impulse itself an instinct? Once granted the fact of instinct at all, and an affirmative answer seems imperative to one who is familiar with the workings of this impulse in men and animals. On these grounds I have committed myself in my former work to the designation of imitation as an inborn instinct, and yet I must admit the logical inconsistency of this, since the very conception of instinct dispenses with the use of imitation. As commonly understood, instinct may be defined as a hereditary and clearly defined motor reaction to a given stimulus. In imitation, on the contrary, we have a thousand varying reactions, for as the stimulus (the model) varies the whole char-

(285) -acter of the reaction follows suit. What becomes of the fixed hereditary orbit if at each repetition entirely new movements, sounds unconnected with the foregoing ones, etc., are produced? "To assert that imitation is instinctive," says Bain, " is to maintain the existence of an infinity of pre-existing associations between sensations and actions."[7] This appears to me to be the one insurmountable objection among the many which he and others have brought against the conception of imitative instinct, and it is serious enough to cause me to modify my former position.

As a point of departure, suppose we take the assumption that, with certain limitations, a psychophysical adjustment, not in the ordinary sense instinctive, accounts for the genesis of imitation. This adjustment depends on the fact that in conscious activity a necessary connection exists between the movement produced and the antecedent concept of the movement. On the one hand, then, a movement is said to be voluntary only when the motor act is accompanied with such an idea of movement, while the other view implies that the idea itself is the thing which urges its own fulfilment.[8] If this is so, the mere concept of the movement performed by another impels us to perform it as well, and hence arises imitation. Although the difficulty is to establish the correctness of this assumption,[9] yet we may be pretty sure that the concept of a possible movement, if not crippled by antagonistic motives, does induce a certain readiness for fulfilment.[10]

This analysis, it is true, acquaints us with a necessary condition of imitation, but as little accounts for the amazing force of the impulse as the mere conception of movement accounts for voluntary activity. While every concept may impel to the corresponding motor act, we know

(286) from experience that such tendencies to form habits are checked and aborted by all sorts of hindrances, mere inertia being sufficient in many cases to counteract the motive power of such concepts. There must be special reasons, then, which lend to the perception of a movement performed by another such extraordinary motive power. We have still to meet the question whether there may not be an inherited relation developed on the foundation and presupposition of the " readiness " described above. The thousand sensory motor paths involved in it can not be determined by heredity, since they presuppose acquired experience (as in learning to speak, first crude experimentation, then imitation). But the strength of the pleasurable quality in the reproduction of a movement accomplished first by another, the strenuousness of the effort which presses for expression, as well as the seriousness of the disappointment in cases of failure, are direct results of selection and the developmental factors connected with it. In support of this proposition we may refer to the social instincts, the simplest of which is the associativeness of members of the same race, tribe, or faction. Its demands lead to a kind of imitation, at least in movement impulses (Hudson assures us that the young pampas sheep runs the instant it is born after its rapidly running mother), and the impulse to answer a warning or alluring call. Pleasure in satisfying this genuine instinct is especially evident where one of the participants (they being usually of the same species) accompanies the signal with appropriate movements.

I permit myself no judgment of the value of this hypothesis, but I believe its adequacy to meet the case is incontrovertible. Bain, too, in the fourth edition of his work cited above, has made a suggestion looking in the same direction, by which the use of the word instinct gains a certain justification. Nor should it be forgotten that to strengthen this "readiness" a whole series of other requirements may be present, which for convenience in this analysis I may call instinctive. Perhaps an illustration of a movement concept which is not imitative in the ordinary sense will make this clear. If we think intentionally and definitely of the movements involved in

(287) whistling, we are likely to feel a mild inclination to whistle, which, however, is commonly easy enough to overcome. Therefore we call it a certain " readiness " in preference to a stronger term, such as "impulse." But let this mental process take place in church during service; the corresponding action, it is true, is not performed, because of the influence of contrary motives, but the impulse may nevertheless be so strong that their subject suffers great annoyance. Why is this? Probably because the idea of not whistling excites the instinctive impulse toward activity of the movement apparatus (experimentation) as well as the fighting instinct,[11] which resents such constraint and lends itself as a powerful auxiliary to the movement impulse. It is just in this way that the perception of movement made by another arouses special instinctive emotions, and illustrates the power of the imitative impulse. This, then, is a brief explanation of the grounds of the theory developed above, according to which imitation serves as a complement to instincts which have been weakened in favour of intellectual development or are, for whatever reason, inadequate to the individual's life tasks.

Thus we know that a child has the impulse to make use of his motor apparatus, but this impulse is strengthened when another person makes a movement which attracts the child's attention. The concept as such produces a mild inclination and the natural impulse to move weighs down the scale. The little girl inherits an instinct for nursing; alone, it would probably not be strong enough to originate nursing play, and quite as little would the idea of the movements involved which the child acquires from watching her mother have that result (as witness, the boy). The two together produce the familiar result. In the same way the boy's fighting instinct impels him to hnitate all warlike demonstrations. We may say that the "what" of the subject is answered by the movement idea and the " that " predominantly by the corresponding instinct, though acquired neces-

(288) -sity of course may do the same thing. Moreover, imitation has a special affinity for curiosity and the fighting instinct. The former asks concerning an unusual movement by another, "How does he do it?" and an effort to experiment at once ensues, while the fighting instinct is on the alert at the perception of a difficulty, and loses no time in overcoming it in order to enjoy the "I can, too," of success. This success may be a triumph over the model, since if no superiority is proved we arrogate to ourselves a capacity which up to this time has been the property of another.[12] It may, however, be mere pleasure in overcoming the difficulty, as when we try to imitate qualities which we admire in another, adding to the combative impulse the desire to make one's self agreeable or to subordinate others. But so far as conscious playful imitation is directly concerned, the struggle with difficulties is still in the foreground. We must remember, too, that with many of the higher kinds of imitation— pre-eminently so with that which may be called constructive, since its material is invariably appropriated from foreign sources—the pleasure which is derived from recognition and from illusion adds to its play the powerful charm of imagination.

Although I have presented here only a few of the leading features which an analysis of the imitative processes reveals, enough has been said to show how complicated and difficult the problem is, and to render advisable a general summing up in more compact form of the results of these somewhat rambling observations. It will not do to call imitation instinct and leave it at that, since it is not a specific but quite an involved reaction. Moreover, the condition of imitation, namely, the tendency of movement ideas to produce corresponding movements, is not itself instinctive; but we have seen that this tendency alone does not explain all that we include under the name of imitation. This tendency of the movement ideas must have special grounds furnished by organic needs, and especially those which are instinctive; when

(289) the general idea of movement is coincident with one of these the impulse toward discharge becomes very strong. We cited in illustration of this the general movement-impulse, nursing, curiosity (how is it done?), belligerence (not only as regards distinctly hostile movements, but sensation as well), recognition, and illusion. If there is nothing else, then imitation taken alone is no instinct; it is only in very close connection to instinct, as our biological point of view has shown. It is, however, probable that these limits are not reached by the simplest imitation, such as coughing, gaping, etc., and use may be made of the hypothesis of transference (loi de transfert) from specific social instincts, which are themselves the result of a certain degree of imitativeness of the movement idea (agreement, answering, and the like) to movement itself in cases involving the movements belonging to a species. By this means natural selection of whatever developmental factor is employed acquires an essential impetus. Whoever regards such collaboration as probable will consider imitation as a phenomenon at least similar to instinct.

Thirdly—and this point will be quickly disposed ofwhen is imitation to be regarded as play? Evidently we must apply the psychological criterion; imitation is a play when it is enjoyed for its own sake .[13] Imitation transcends play at its highest and lowest limits. .Simple reflex reactions, such as gaping when another gapes, fleeing because another has fled, etc., can not be called play in a psychological sense, nor is the child's first reproduction of sounds playful. Only when he repeats the performance from enjoyment of his success can we be sure of the thing from a psychological standpoint.[14] The limit is passed in the other direction by rendering the movements mechanical, so that the imitation is performed involuntarily, no longer affording enjoyment of the

(290) act itself, as it is now directed toward the external aim. Here belong imitative teaching (so far as it is not in itself enjoyable) and the imitation of an exemplary personality or ideal which is so important to ethics. In the latter, however, a suggestion of playfulness is sometimes present, though it would seem that nothing could be further from the proper sphere of ethics; when poetic figures serve as models, however, it is sometimes hard to mark the limit between the serious and the playful.[15]

In conclusion, I would remark that imitation is almost never merely that; it is creation as well, production as well as reproduction. Close on the heels of imitation comes imagination, and that in the double meaning of the word which we have learned to know. Imagination expands the copy into a full likeness of the original, and then creates the illusion that it is the original. However, imitation may actually be new creation. As Baldwin lucidly puts it, the child's persistent imitation calls into the arena with the satisfactory copy a host of new combinations which may be non-essential to this special aim, but which claim the child's attention and interest as discoveries of his own. He is often so interested in these unexpected combinations as to lose sight of his original purpose, and runs to his parents or comrades to show what he can do. [16]

In turning to the consideration of imitative plays I prefer to divide them into the following groups for the sake of convenience. First, I shall speak of playful imitation of simple movements, which are preparatory to more complicated processes, distinguishing between optical and acoustic percepts. Then follow two important specialized groups, namely, the dramatic and plastic or constructive imitation; and finally I shall treat inner imitation as a fourth kind of play.


1. Playful Imitation of Simple Movements

(a) Optical Percepts

According to Tracy[17] there are few points so generally accepted without question by child psychologists in general as that of the beginning of imitation in the second half year. Yet this agreement is not so universal as might be wished. Thus Baldwin says that experiment with his own children has left him utterly unable to confirm the results reported by Preyer, who thought that he could establish the presence of imitation in the third or fourth month. Baldwin, like Egger, could not be sure of it before the ninth month. [18] Strümpell, on the other hand, thought

he recognised the beginnings of it in the twelfth week. " Careful observation assured me that the child was sympathetically excited by the movements of adults in speaking. When any one was talking to him he watched the mouth instead of the eyes, as formerly; and as he watched, his own mouth moved softly, the lips assuming different positions, which undoubtedly resulted from movements in the inner part of the mouth."[19] Baldwin may be right in regarding such very early observations as frequently misleading, since the correspondence with a model is apt to be accidental, though I do not think that this supposition explains away all cases. However, enjoyment of imitation and consequently play with it is undoubtedly of later origin. This observation of Preyer may be called playful. " In the tenth month correct copies of various movements are constantly produced, and that with full consciousness. In the often repeated hand and arm movement of `shaking ta-ta' the child gazes earnestly at the person showing him the signal, and suddenly repeats it correctly." [20] This is not the unconscious or involuntary copying of strange models which is

(292) so common with young and old. The question no doubt arises in the child's mind, " How is that done? " and when followed by the successful accomplishment of the task, is further succeeded by the joyful feeling of "I can, too," and playful use of the imitative faculty. The same is the case with the following instances: " As I, with the intention of amusing the child, waved my right hand to and fro before him, he suddenly began to move his own right hand in the same way, and from that time imitation slowly but surely progressed. On the day following, he was much quicker in repeating the attempt, and evidently wondering at the novelty of his experience, watched attentively now my hand and now his own .... At fifteen months the child learned to put out a candle flame. He blew six or seven times in vain, and kept grasping at the flame, laughing when it eluded him, and straining after it, while puffing and blowing with distended cheeks and lips unnecessarily protruded .... A large ring which I slowly laid on his head and took off again the child seized and unhesitatingly set it on his own head (sixteen months)."[21] Sigismund says: "The child learns all his little arts from his nurse: shaking good-bye, patting, kissing his hand, bowing, dancing, etc. But he copies of his own accord movements and attitudes which strike and please him. He walks with his father's stick, tries to smoke a pipe, puts wood on the fire, scribbles with a pencil, and, in short, imitates whatever he sees done about him."[22]

From a psychological standpoint there are various distinctions to be made in these instances. Sometimes it is the movement itself which forms the centre of interest, while again the result of the movement is the thing aimed at, making the muscular exertion only a means to the end (as in blowing out the light).[23] It is significant that the pleasure derived from imitation is more conspicuous in the first case; and another important question is, whether more of curiosity or more of pleasure in competition is involved, since the one likens imitative activ-

(293) -ity to intellectual experimentation, and the other assimilates it to rivalry. In the one case the child's attention is fixed on the question, " How is that done? " He is interested in the modus operandi as in the solution of a riddle. In the latter case the movement made in his presence arouses him like a challenge: " You can't do that! " And his whole effort is directed to the proof that he can. The two factors do not necessarily exclude one another; they may work together. The exhilarating effect is heightened by strong emphasis of the fighting element; the stronger the consciousness that the task was difficult, though now achieved, the more will both child and adult enjoy the imitation—another support to our theory of the comic.

In later life, at least among civilized people, the impulse to playful imitation of the movements of others is not so strong,[24] except in the case of teasing mimicry. Most adult imitation is either of the character of involuntary adaptation, or for some specific end, and is thus partly within and partly without the sphere of play. When, for instance, the southerner who goes north to live, gradually controls his lively gesticulation, it is done unconsciously and involuntarily, unless he assists in the process because he does not wish to appear ridiculous. There may be some imitative play in the indulgence of air-castle building, founded on external models, though careful discrimination would be needed to detect it always. Then there is the callow youth who copies a leader of fashion in his manner of walking, talking, and acting, and finds sufficient satisfaction in the success of his efforts without any further aim. Sometimes, too, that imitation founded on serious effort is manifested in trifling ways. I do not know whether such amusement is now dispensed with in teaching writing; my experience was that the higher classes at school as wall as the children tried to model their hand after that of some ad= mired student, teacher, or friend. Sully's remark that imitation is sometimes "the highest form of flattery" is applicable here.


(b) Playful Imitation of Acoustic Percepts

A group occupying a position midway between the foregoing and that which is now to be treated of consists of such imitations as find their antecedent in movement which appeals to the eye and yet whose real effect is in the repetition of acoustic impressions. Preyer records the following unsuccessful effort at the end of the first year: "At this period, if any one struck with a salt spoon on a glass, making it sound, my child would take up the .spoon and attempt to hit the glass in the same way, but he could not get the tone."[25] Quite similar is Baldwin's observation: "H—'s first clear imitation was on May 24th (beginning of ninth month) in knocking a bunch of keys against a vase as she saw me do it, in order to produce the bell-like sound. This she repeated over and over again, and tried to reproduce it a week later when, from lapse of time, she had partly forgotten how to use the keys."[26] This sort of imitation, where, as in putting out the light, the result is more important than the movement itself, is more enduring than simple movement imitation, because the end attained is itself a source of pleasure.

The most important phase of acoustic imitation is that which aids in the child's acquirement of speech. In studying experimentation we found that voice practice is an indispensable antecedent of learning to talk. Add to this the imitative impulse and the equipment is complete for acquiring a mother tongue. The child imitates all the kinds of sound that he hears—the howling of the wind, animal calls, coughing and sneezing—but of course he hears most constantly the sounds of his native language, and so it naturally follows that he gives it particular attention, which constantly increases as he becomes aware of his parents' delight in his acquirements and as he perceives their practical use.

Sigismund has asked whether imitation of singing may not serve as an introduction to language lessons. He says: "The first real imitation which I observed in my boy was not repetition of articulate speech, but of a musical tone. When he was fourteen months old and

(295) had as yet imitated nothing (?), I occasionally sang to him a popular song whose melody began with a downward quarter (F—C), which interval recurred frequently and forcibly in the song. I was greatly surprised when the child, though very drowsy, sang this measure correctly, an octave higher. The following day the same thing happened, and this time without any example . . . . Is it the rule or the exception that the infant sings imitatively before he speaks so? Many mothers whom I have questioned were uncertain whether such singing had occurred at all, but they had probably simply failed to notice it. The result of my own investigations and observation points to the probability that children, like birds, more easily comprehend and repeat singing tones than speech."[27] Ufer justly replies to this that while children do indeed often sing before they can talk, we have no reason to affirm that this is the rule. The child observed by Miss Shinn, for example, first made feeble efforts to imitate singing in its fortieth month.[28] It is always unsafe to attach too much importance to isolated cases. It is characteristic of man that many of his inherited capacities are left afloat, as it were, and must be anchored by individual experience, thus affording opportunity for the development of varied individuality. Consequently, it is hardly possible to be too cautious in drawing conclusions for phylogenetic evolution from ontogenetic development.

It is self-evident that not all the sound imitations which underlie the acquirement of speech are playful in a psychological sense. Words are often babbled mechanically without any special enjoyment. Moreover, as soon as the child has overcome the difficulties of the first stage of his language study and knows how to express his wants, he often makes use of expressions whose model exists only in his memory, without affil playful intention. Still, a considerable part of the effort to learn to speak is properly imitative play. Preyer's description shows us how the child put his whole soul in the attempt to understand the lip movements, and in another place (fifteen

(296) months) he says, " If he hears a new word, 'cold,' for example, which he can not repeat he is angry or turns his head away and cries."[29] This demonstrates the presence of fighting play; when the effort to be able to say "I can, too," fails in its aim, consciousness of defeat is betrayed by ill humour. Older children, too, often obtain new acquisitions in speech in a playful fashion. I kept a series of notes on Marie G— in this connection, extending from the third to the seventh year, and they show this unmistakably. While she lived in Giessen she mimicked the dialect of the servants and many of the peculiarities of Hessian speech, and enjoyed copying the expressions of her playmates in talking to her dolls. In one note, which records the observations of a single day, I find four distinct efforts of this kind, and for many months she adopted the rather forward manner of speaking, practised by a boy of whom she was thrown with for a while. Hardly had we become settled in Basel before she made a rhyme illustrating the local accent here.

The child's effort, on the whole, is directed toward attaining likeness to his model, whatever may be the difficulty, otherwise he would remain satisfied with his first effort when he found it understood. " Persistent imitation " constantly urges him on to improvement by repetition, constantly striving for betterment. Thus the power is gained to acquire new territory. The child's enjoyment, too, of recognition constantly furnishes him with alluring models. This progressive method is directly opposed to natural inertia and indolence, which are so strong in some children that we occasionally find them not only satisfied with slipshod methods, but actually going back, after learning better, to the faulty pronunciation. This retrogression, too, is often playful.

We have space but for one illustration from the many which this subject affords; it relates to inventiveness in language imitation. We have already seen that the experimental play of infants (especially in reduplication) furnishes material for a science of language. The easily articulated syllables papa, mamma, baba, fafa, dada, etc.,

(297) are sufficiently explained in the case of parents, who take them into their own vocabulary and thus confirm the child in their use. Many expressive words have originated in this way .[30] Darwin's child said " mum " to signify eating or wanting to eat, and Strümpell's daughter at ten months called all the birds that she saw from the window " tibu."[31] Older children, too, often indulge in such playful experimental coining of words,[32] as we shall see later. At present we are more concerned with the word building founded on acoustic imitation. Preyer thinks that the only kind of word creation practised by children is the imitation of sounds which they have heard and their repetition in the form of interjections. I quote from him: " When the listener first imitates a word and then makes independent use of it depends with normal children principally on whether much effort is made to instruct them. More important psychogenetically . . . are observations on the creation of words with a special sense before the beginning of genuine speech. These are not to be regarded as mistaken, imperfect, or onomatopoeic imitations, . . . but rather as original interjections. In all my observations and studies directed especially to their investigation, I have been able to discover nothing tending to establish a connection of the hearer's concepts with articulate sounds and syllables . . . . S. S. Haldemann has in his notes on the invention of words, which include a small boy's discoveries, in that line, citations from Taine, Holden, myself, and others. This boy called a cow " m," a bell " tin-tin " (Holden's boy said " ling-dong-mang " for a church bell), a locomotive "tschu-tschu," the splash of something falling in water " boom," and applied the same word to throwing, striking, falling, shooting, etc., without regard to the quality of the sound, though always with reference to some sound. In weighing the fact that a sound repeated to him, such as a trumpet call, was fitted with a word suggestive of the sound seems to show that

(298) an intelligent child attempts to imitate and repeat what he hears, despite the objection of a Max Müller, and until a better hypothesis is offered affords an object lesson in the study of the origin of language."

Yet this theory is decidedly partial, for among primitive people, besides mamma, papa, adda, etc., other sounds depending on neither interjections nor imitation, but purely the result of experimentation, get a meaning from the simple relation of mother and child, and so attain at least a place in their vocabulary and surely form one of the grounds for the explanation of the growth of language. It is not maintained that the child first learns the art of imitating sound from his elders, for without doubt he is often the originator, as in the case of mamma and papa, which he has taught them. For us the interesting question here is that of recognition which we find again the object of playful activity. The "Bow-wow" theory sounds perhaps improbable, or even ridiculous when we think of its being used by adults,[33] but when confined to children all this is changed. It works somewhat in this way: The child learns through imitation to produce all sorts of sounds—the crash of falling objects, the rumble of rolling ones, cries of animals, the gurgling of water. His mother's play with him adds to the value of such imitations, since in their play the imitative sound comes to stand for its object just as symbolism arises from the effort to express qualities. Imitation makes this intelligible, since every copy is a symbol of the thing copied. Even the interjection and the experimental sound can only be elements of speech by imitation or repetition. Thus Jodl rightly says (following Marty) of the imitation of sound, " As soon as their power of adjustment, their reason, is sufficiently developed, they derive from free play the means consciously employed for the acquisition of varied experience."[34] Therefore I maintain that imitation is an indispensable condition in the explanation of the origin of language, its objects

(299) being threefold: (1) All the acoustic models afforded by the environment; (2) interjectional sounds; (3) experimental sounds. It is as assured a fact that children practise the first as that they playfully repeat their own experiments. Playful imitation of interjection is not to my knowledge indulged in by very young children, but using the sound to signify the thing from which it proceeds is natural enough. On the whole, then, it seems that while imitation plays an important part in the origin of language, as many investigators testify, to make it the only factor would be an act of presumption.

As this impulse for acoustic repetition is weaker in adults than in children, I need only mention the playful use of it in poetry where it is agreeable to all. I have already had occasion to remark that poetry written for children is especially rich in such imitation. Animal cries and bird notes figure largely. Rückert's poem Aus der Iugendheit makes use of a very common metre to imitate the whirring call of the swallow, thus:

"Wenn ich weggeh', : , :
Hab ich Kisten and Kasten voll;
Wenn ich wiederkomm', : , :
Hab ich kein Fädchen Zwir-r-n." [35]
" When I go away
I have trunks and boxes full;
When I come back again
I haven't a rag to my name."

This interpretative imitation which lends to unintelligible sounds a special meaning is applied to other things than animal cries, such as the clatter of arms, the ringing of bells, the splashing of water, the roaring of wind, etc. For adults it is expressed in the refrain, which, however, does not as a rule convey any special meaning. A rather crude form of it is found in Burger's Leonore. A more subtile use of it is illustrated in efforts to make the sound of the words convey a faint resemblance to the acoustic effect which is being described. A familiar and celebrated instance of this is found in this passage from Faust:

"Und wean der Sturm im W Walde braust and knarrt,
Die Riesenfichte stürzend Nachbaräste
Und Nachbarstämme quetschend niederstreift,
Und ihrem Fall dumpf hohl der Hügel donnert ...."[36]

(300) Music, too, is notably richer in imitation of the latter sort than in the much less valuable tone-painting. As we have, however, touched on its analogy with and relation to speech movements, which is its most important feature, the subject will not be opened further here.

2. Dramatic Imitation in Play

In the playful imitation which we have considered up to this point, illusion was as a rule.not involved, of the kind which seems to convert the copy into the original. In dramatic or imitative play involving the reproduction of actions it is almost invariably present, and essentially differentiates such play. Imitation is still the foundation and also the source of pleasure not only in the feeling of emulation, but in putting one's self in the place of another, in the play of imagination and in the enjoyment of aesthetic effect. There can be no doubt that this refinement of the process by which the external act of imitation becomes at the same time inward sympathy is of great importance to human progress. Konrad Lange has shown in his stimulating article[37] that with the higher animals at least, play without the contributory zest of illusion or conscious self-deception would probably be much less attractive and consequently fail of its biological purpose, since this feature of it contributes essentially to the advance of intelligence. Even when the child merely copies for the sake of copying he learns an astonishing amount, and acquires a host of psychic adaptations. But mental elasticity, adaptability, and mobility are first acquired when the migratory instincts of the soul, so to speak, are awakened, and the child enters into the life of his model. Veritable participation in the mental states of another individual, objective appraisal of what he feels and strives for, would scarcely be possible without such practice.

In the dramatic imitative play of children important distinctions are apparent which are not noticeable in the

(301) dramatic art of adults. The play may be so conducted that the player's own body appears as the exclusive object of the mimic production, or in such a manner that the pretended object serves, either on the ground of an actual resemblance or by sheer force of imagination, as a substitute for the thing represented, or, lastly, in a way that includes both. We have an instance of the first when the boy pretends to be a soldier, of the second when he marches his tin soldiers to battle, and of the third when he himself takes part in the combat, or when a little girl plays that her doll is a real baby and she herself the mother. Since we have reason to believe that dramatic art has developed from the play of children by way of the mimic dance we may be sure that its progress has been selective, and that there is good reason for the perfection of the first of these forms. The second, indeed, appears in the marionette farces which are still much enjoyed by the uneducated classes among ourselves and are in great favour in the East. The third kind, in which the player places himself in direct dramatic relation with the puppet (taking the word in its widest sense), has no analogy in our art, but is most prominent in the fetich cult. And the reason why is easily traced. A fundamental distinction between mimic play and mimic art consists in the fact that the player imitates simply for his own amusement, the artist for the pleasure of others. His is not real play, but exhibition. Bearing this distinction in mind, we see that the third form of play is not applicable to art.

In our short review of dramatic imitative play we will not adhere too closely to the three distinctions, but simply inquire what it is that the child imitates. And first we glance at the strange fact that his impersonating impulse extends even to inanimate objects; the child acts without any feeling of limitation, like the labourers in Midsummer-Night's Dream, who were ready to take the part of the Wall or the Moon indifferently. During a long and complicated play some child will be a door post, a tree, a seat, a wagon, and a locomotive, and endeavour by his motions and carriage to support these bold illusions.

This exhibition of versatility on the part of the child is interesting in its analogy to the expansion of the

(302) imitative impulse in aesthetic perception. Such external personification of lifeless objects corresponds to inner imitation which is itself a kind of personifying. A higher object of dramatic imitation is found in the actions of animals which, as we have seen, are apt to lead to strongly marked comic effects. They are a source of the liveliest amusement to children, who will crawl like a snake, grunt like a pig, fly like a bird, swim like a fish, seize and devour prey, make grimaces, wear animal masks, make shadow pictures, notice and laugh at animals, and perhaps even mimic their movements. [38] This last propensity has given name and character to many complicated traditional games, such as " Cat and Mouse," " Wolf im Garten," " Fox Chase," "Hen and Hawk," "Fox and Chickens," etc. This manifestation of the child's deep interest in the animal world is analogous to animal imitation in primitive art and animal veneration in primitive religion. In the former connection the animal dance is most conspicuous, being extremely widespread. Masks representing the different animals are commonly worn, and the movements of domestic animals, especially the dog, as well as of wild beasts, are reproduced in rhythmic order, [39] nor are the dancers daunted by swimming and flying. Probably the masking in Greek and Japanese dances is attributable to such an origin, as also the unnaturally placed tails on ancient figures of fauns, for in these dances animal tails were hung in the belt. [40]

Hall and Allin, in their valuable treatise so frequently cited, attempt to assign a reason for the very special interest which children take in animals. They find my practice and preparation theory in this case " obviously wrong." As a partial explanation they develop the view that use of a rudiment produces to a certain degree its atrophy, and that consequently childish imitation of animals "marks the harmless development

(303) of rudimentary animal instincts as they pass to their needed maximal growth, till the next higher powers that control and subordinate them are unfolded, thus recapitulating with immense rapidity a very long stage in the evolution of the human out of the animal psyche.[41] It strikes me that this is one of the numerous cases of the too bold application of the seductive but dangerous phylogenetic theory. Entirely apart from the fact that the idea of weakening as a result of practice seems improbable in regard to the imitation of animals as well as in the catharsis theory on which the author seems to base his, it is noteworthy that the child has to make an effort to reproduce the movements, actions, and calls of animals, and this at a time when it has already progressed very far in the acquirement of human capabilities. Therefore, I am unable to subscribe to the theory advanced by these gentlemen. None will deny that the imitative impulse is of great biological importance as practice, and I do not see that any special explanation is needed for its extension to animal actions. If, however, such explanation is required, my theory readily supplies it, for few things are more useful to primitive man than a thorough knowledge of animal life, and playful imitation afforded a much surer means of acquiring this than did mere receptive observation.

We now pass to human activities which are chosen as models by children still more than are the activities of animals. It may be stated in general that there is scarcely anything which engages the energy of man which is not made the object of childish imitation. Children of savages naturally have a much smaller répertoire than those of civilized people, but as far as the fact of imitation is concerned, and as it appears in child's play, it usually strikes travellers most forcibly, since they are not as a rule alive to the less salient phenomena of experimentation. Livingstone says that in central Africa it is remarkable how few playthings the children have; their life seems to be already a serious one, and their only amusement consists in imitating their elders while they

(304) build huts, lay out gardens, or make bows, arrows, shields, and spears. In other places, he says, giving a beautiful instance of childish invention and illusion, many bright children are found who have plenty of attractive toys. They shoot birds with their little bows, and teach captive ones to sing. They are very skilful in setting traps and snares for small birds, as in the preparation and spreading of birdlime. The boys make toy guns out of reeds and shoot grasshoppers. [42] Many other witnesses confirm all this, though their reports are usually less full and lucid, and we may conclude that the games and sports of adults are also early acquired by the children by means of imitation. Among the " wild men " exhibited in Europe, quite small children are often found who perform the dances of their elders with astonishing accuracy, and travellers tell us that they do the same thing in their homes. Captain Jacobsen once attended a regular Indian child's party, for which the little people painted their faces and stuck feathers in their hair in regulation style. "It was really comical to see little tots of three and four gotten up in this fashion and dancing about with leaps and bounds while older ones beat the wooden drum."[43]

Children of civilized peoples still retain among their plays many heathenish customs which have not been practised by adults within the memory of man. An interesting example will accomplish the transition from savagery, dealing as it does with the powerful influence of the imitation of the uncultured on European children. Signe Rink tells of her childhood spent in Greenland: " Like all European children in the country my brothers and sisters and I had a genuine passion for everything pertaining to Greenland; and accordingly, as soon as the door was shut on our elders we tried in every possible way anal by all sorts of mimicry to identify ourselves with our playmates. My brother got himself up as a seal hunter from head to foot, and I became an Eskimo woman with waddling gait, who was sternly forbidden to leave the house." And of her play in an Eskimo but and with

(305) a Greenlandic girl she gives the following delightful description: "We took off our shoes and sat on the warm, comfortable, half-dark part of the couch behind the backs of the grown people. Wherever I was there was Anna, my best friend among the Greenland children . . . . We made quite free with pincushions, dishes, and timepieces! We brought mussel shells and bleached seal bones and made a playhouse in the corner. We took cushions from the great pile and made beds for the puppies. We made mural decorations from coloured chips. Over our heads hung boots, hose, skins, trousers, and timiaks (underjackets) to dry in the warmth of the lamp or to be out of the way. All these surroundings formed elements in our play. In imagination we had sent our husbands off on a seal hunt, and with thimbles on our first fingers, the Greenland custom, we sewed round flaps for the boot soles of the absent ones." [44] One can not read such a description as this without being impressed with the incalculable influence of imitation on the whole psychic life of the child, not only in relation to externals, but also as affecting their deeply rooted sympathies and antipathies, habits and convictions, all of which are deeply influential on the developing character. Baldwin says: "It is not only likely—it is inevitable—that he makes up his personality, under limitation of heredity by imitation, out of the `copy' set in the actions, temper, emotions of the people who build around him the social inclosure of his childhood. It is only necessary to watch a two-year-old closely to see what members of the family are giving him his personal `copy'-to find out whether he sees his mother constantly and his father seldom; whether he plays much with other children, and what their dispositions are to a degree; whether he is growing to be a person of subjection, equality, or tyranny; whether he is assimilating the elements of some low, unorganized social content from his foreign nurse. For, in Leibnitz's phrase, the boy or girl is a social monad, a little world, which reflects the whole system of influences coming to stir its sensibilities.

(306) And just as far as his sensibilities are stirred he imitates, and forms habits of imitating. And habits?—they are character." [45]

There is hardly any limit to the rôle playing of civilized children. Under normal conditions they naturally take their own parents as models, and even in societies not governed by caste considerations this must have a conservative influence. But the occupations of others, too, appeal strongly to the imitative impulse, and it is altogether probable that such tests of various possibilities often exert an influence on the later choice of a life's calling, for play develops predispositions and antipathies. When Schiller was eight or nine years old he was taken to see the magnificent ducal opera house in Ludwigsburg, and was forthwith inspired to produce a similar work; so he built a little theatre of books, and had paper figures to act in it. Soon afterward he got up private theatricals among his sisters and schoolmates. His enjoyment of preaching, too, was shown in his being able, like young Fichte, to repeat, when a child, whole sermons verbatim whose lofty spiritual pathos confirmed his natural inclination toward the priestly calling.

Before proceeding to the consideration of special forms of the imitative impulse, I will make a limited selection from a series of observations calculated to illustrate the variety of childish imitation. The carrier's wagon, the street car, the railroad are as well represented by his own body as by external objects, though the silver knife-rests on our table seems especially adapted for the last, being hitched together and pushed about the table, passing through tunnels, stopping at stations, etc. An old servant who comes to our house daily to see if anything is wanted from the library or post office, regularly gets letters which the child has placed in old envelopes. Another play is for the child to knock at the front door and say to the maid who opens it, " Î am an old letter carrier." When asked if she has any letters she answers, " Here is some money for you," and spits in the girl's hand. She comes with a pile of old papers, and

(307) asks if we want to buy one. She travels to Coburg between the house and garden, and visits a friend, saying, when she comes back, " I have told Emmy that she must come here soon." For months after a visit to a swimming pool she practises swimming in the garden; standing on a chair holding her nose she jumps in the grass, where she tries to copy the movements of swimmers. She said, when five years old, to her doll: "Lisa, in an hour you go to Frau Schneider, and when she asks you, `What is, the sky is blue?' you must say, ` Le ciel est bleu'; and when she asks, `What is, the tree is green?' you must say, `L'arbre est vert.'" At six and a half she gave her doll writing and piano lessons. In the latter she grasped the doll so that by means of pressure on the hidden mechanism she elicited from it accompanying wails, at regular intervals and in good time.

The capacity for illusion is always the most interesting feature of such play. The same child varies greatly in this respect: sometimes he seems entirely given up to self-deception; he will offer you a meal of candy in which one bit represents the meat, another the vegetables, etc., and is quite hurt if you are guilty of confusing these dishes. Sometimes, too, when he has concocted various dainties out of mud, he can not resist the temptation to bite into the brown mass, although in his calmer moments he well knows that mud is not edible. On the other hand, the waking consciousness seems to be unshaken through it all. If you warn the playing child not to hurt his rocking horse, he will answer that it is only a wooden horse, without, however, abating his zeal in the play. Then, again, the whole thing is laid out beforehand, as in this case. Marie: "Then let's play that I am a thief, and there is a whole roomful of cakes, and the door is shut, and I cut a hole in it and take all the cakes away, and 3-on are the policeman and run after me and get all the cakes back again." Frieda : " And I will take them to my child. Or shall we play birthday?" When choice is thus offered between various possibilities there is, of course, much variation in the strength of the illusion, and the sudden transitions of the imagination are often very striking. For instance, one small dramatist

(308) called two combs which he held together a biscuit, and said it had an excellent taste, and the next moment was rocking them to sleep with tender solicitude. We have already noticed the child's extraordinary capacity for supplying any deficiencies in the object of his fantasy; he has no difficulty in accepting two upright pencils as towers, an umbrella for a baby, with grass stalks attached to it for flowing locks.

At the risk of giving too much space to this phase of the subject I will describe a baptismal festival in 1896, which was participated in by half a dozen children from five to fourteen years old, at our house. For the adults chairs were provided and placed in regular rows, and they were required to bring tickets of admission which a duly accredited doorkeeper received. All the children were deeply affected during the official parts of the ceremony, especially the young mother, who showed as she brought the doll infant forward a really pallid face, and the fourteen-year-old minister was so moved by his solemn office that he lost his place after the first sentence. On the certificate of baptism was the proverb:

" Ihm ruhen noch im Zeitenachoose
Die schwarzen and die heitern Loose";

and the programme, whose second part seems to throw some doubt on the lofty idealism of the children, was as follows:



1. Sermon


First course, pastry.
Second course, ham and asparagus.
Third course, fish and potatoes
Fourth course, tongue and cabbage.
Fifth course, beefsteak with sauce.
Sixth course, poultry and salad.
Seventh course, roast pork and chestnuts.


Eighth course, venison and compote.
Ninth course, pies.
Tenth course, ices.
Eleventh course, cheese and pumpernickel.


1. Conversation.
2. Games.
3. Domino party.
4. Dancing.

Amid the bewildering variety of childish dramatic play two specialized groups seem to be particularly prominent. As stated in the general introduction the imitative impulse is often aroused by an intensive stimulus calculated to Call into play other stimuli as well, one of the most prominent being the fighting instinct—playful imitations of all sorts of contests—as vigorously practised by boys, for, however much education may be said to foster it, their inborn nature sets the pace. The old story of Achilles's choice of a sword, though he had been brought up like a girl, is well founded. Among savages the chase and manly contests are the constant models for playing boys, while among ourselves, besides playing soldier, many such sports are kept alive solely through tradition. This is the case, too, with less cultured peoples, the bow and arrow being used as toys long after they are abandoned for serious warfare .[46] Since so many of these plays have been enumerated with the other fighting plays, I will not here single them out, but rather confine myself to a notable example from ethnology. Just as our children chase each other, take prisoners and execute them, so do the little ones of the Scram Islands play at decapitation. "A favourite game of young and old," says Joest, " is that of cutting off heads, for which the children are armed with light wooden swords. A cocoanut is hidden in the shrubbery, and their naked bodies wind like snakes through the grass and thicket in search of it. An arrow or lance is hurled into the air when the nut is found, and a couple of welldirected blows with the sword sends it bounding away,

(310) severed from its stem. The victor, holding his booty in his left hand and exulting in his triumph, runs off at a gallop, pursued by the entire crowd, shouting and brandishing their weapons."[47]

The nursing or fostering instinct which is so prominent in the imitative play of little girls deserves more attention. A special section is devoted to such play among animals in my former work, but I admit that I am myself somewhat sceptical in regard to some of the examples quoted there, though I was most careful to get the testimony of trustworthy investigators. Among animals, moreover, some sorts of nursing play are wanting, such, for instance, as that in which a lifeless object is treated as a veritable infant. [48] The feeding of young birds of a second brood by their older brothers and sisters. seems to me entitled to be called a nursing play, and Naumann observed this in the case of water wagtails. Altum reports the same behaviour by canary birds, and vouches for having seen young water wagtails who were still wearing their first feathers feed young cuckoos.[49] That this is a play can scarcely be questioned, and it must be imitative since the parent birds are taken as models, but whether it is dramatic illusion play is another question and a doubtful one, for there is always actual feeding with actual food; not, as with children, a mere pretence. Yet I am very doubtful whether there would be any nursing plays among children without parental models, and for that reason it has been included among imitative plays in this book instead of being given a separate section. We then conclude that the maternal instinct is present in little girls, but first attains expression in play on the rise of the imitative impulse.

We have a direct analogue to the bird examples when an older child assumes the rôle of mother to a younger with purely playful and imitative motives. Dramatic illusion first comes in when sham activity is involved, as may be the case with dolls, other children, or even

(311) adults as the subjects. We must conclude, then, that the imitative impulse is fully developed only when imagination supplements the copy. Baldwin gives a particularly pretty instance of dramatic nursing play where the older sister takes the part of mother to the younger.[50]

As regards the use of dolls it would be interesting to know whether the child would of its own accord so treat any beloved object if it had never seen a real doll made by adults, but the artificial doll is always provided so early that there is no opportunity to make the experiment. In the slums of a great city a proper subject might perhaps be found. However, we know that the child's powers of illusion are amazing. A cushion, a stick, a building block, an umbrella, a dust brush, or a footstool, a table cover, a slipper, a fork, in short, anything portable, is liable to become a beloved and zealously nurtured baby, and every detail is quickly arranged to suit the picture.[51] Finally, a few words as to the origin of this toy. Its use is well-nigh universal, and one of the sights most worth seeing in an ethnological museum is a collection of dolls from all over the world. They are made of clay, of edible earth, of wax, of wood, of bark, of cloth, of porcelain, etc., and imitations of the human figure blend with those of animals, of household furniture and utensils, of arms and implements of different sorts in motley variety. [52] They serve to illustrate human progress. In mediaeval Europe, in ancient Rome, in Greece—everywhere the doll was at home. The old museum in Berlin, for example, possesses a wooden doll from the Egyptian excavations, which has movable legs, and a crocodile whose jaws can open and shut. Since these images of men and animals were probably the earliest form of toys, the conclusion is natural that they probably originated with idols which from religious feeling may have lain in the cradles and this appealed to the children as playthings. Other customs and the testimony of

(312) travellers give colour to this idea, though it is difficult to draw the line between the idol and the doll.[53] Through the kindness of my former colleague, Sticker, at Giessen, I myself own an old Indian wooden doll, which appears suited to be both a protection from evil spirits and a toy for children. Still, we must not allow to pass unchallenged any manifestation of the disposition which used to be so common, to refer everything to a religious origin. It is quite possible that simple pleasure in plastic representation for its own sake is responsible for the manufacture of these toys. Von den Steinen tells us, "Dolls a span long, made of straw, served as children's toys, and were also stuck in a pole on the roof of their places of festivity as a sign that some frolic was in progress, and everybody spread the news."[54] There is nothing here to hint at a religious significance.

Of dramatic imitation play by adults we find only a few remnants among civilized people, aside from mimicry on the one hand and the borders of art on the other, where imitation is not exhibited as an end in itself, but rather in relation to its effect on the spectators, and therefore is no longer a genuine play. Professional actors " play " only in particularly happy hours. The case .is quite otherwise, however, with savages, whose imitative dances, while conducted in the presence of spectators, it is true, are unmistakably for the enjoyment of the participants first, somewhat as are our amateur theatricals. We have already described animal and erotic dances, which are also imitative, of course, and all interesting, comic, and exciting elements of their life are repeated in various dramatic dances, fighting scenes being favourite subjects. I choose an example whose details most strongly recall the capacity for illusion possessed by children. It is n woman's dance which K. Semper caw in the Palau Islands: "We could already hear the rustling of their leafy garments, which swung in time with the dancers' movements as they stood in a long row. Their aprons

(313) were of the briefest, their naked bodies were fantastically painted in gay colours. In one hand they carried short wooden instruments which seemed to be weapons, and in the other a staff covered with a skilfully made tuft of white shavings, tipped with red. They marched in a row on to the raised platform whose roof sheltered them from the sun, and now the dance began. The beginner sang a verse without moving, then all repeated it as a chorus with accompanying rustling of the leafy gowns and beckoning movements of the arms. Soon they became more active, and apparently wished to express joy and greeting. Each seized her wooden instrument—a neighbour told me that they represented weapons—and made light swinging movements before her. During this war dance they gradually removed from the starting point. A sudden loud cry, wild movements of the arms and whole body, excited singing and blazing eyes betokened the expectation of approaching battle . . . . The dancers' movements became wilder, they stamped their feet, their hands dealt blows in time with the song—here to strike a fallen foe, there to sever a head. At last victory is won. They grasp the wands bearing the gay tufts and raise them aloft, then lower them diagonally to the ground. `What does that mean, Frau Ebadul?' I ask. `That is the battle of the Inglises against Aibukit, whom they are besieging; now they are firing the villages—the yellow tufts are flames to light the huts with."' Aside from the rhythmical movement which is needed to complete the power of illusion for adults, this is very like the dramatic imitative play of children.

3. Plastic or Constructive Imitative Play

Under this heading are grouped external representations of two or three dimensions. thus including drawing as well as the moulding commonly understood as plastic. Here it is more difficult to distinguish between play and art than in dramatic imitation, since, while the child nursing her doll, or putting his tin soldiers through a drill, thinks not at all of spectators, and how they will be affected; even an infant artist is always eager to show what he can do. It can, however, be generally prevised

(314) that pictorial imitation is a play only when pure joy in the act of production fills the soul of the copyist.

I begin with imitative drawing, which seems to be widely practised, not only by children but by primitive people as well, and will therefore claim most of our attention. Its origin is not clearly determined, though von den Steinen's observations make out the case pretty clearly for their connection with language of gesture. " The simplest drawings," he says, " are those connected with gesture. When a savage repeats the cry of an animal in one of his spirited dramatic tales and wishes to make the effect more forcible, he also imitates the creature's bearing, gait, and movements, and pictures special peculiarities, such as long ears, trunk, horns, etc., in the air with his hand. Such actions for the eye form a parallel to the voice imitation for the ear, but when they still do not suffice, drawings are made on the sand. In the absence of word equivalents for communicating with them I myself have often taken refuge in such sand writing." [55] He goes on to say that he thinks, although his observation has been confined to Indian tribes, the further development of drawing followed for the purposes of communication after the idea of making pictures was once grasped; and that finally they were made without such practical aim, efforts were made to improve the technique, and all sorts of natural objects were represented in interesting and novel aspects.[56]

I know of nothing that should hinder us from accepting this luminous explanation and applying it to the origin of all drawing but for one point, which does offer some difficulty. That a primitive hunter should imitate animal bearing, gait, and movement is easily accounted for by the instinct for dramatic imitation, but it takes us no nearer to our goal; and, moreover, how does it happen that lie adds the outline of car.,, trunk, or horns iii the air to complete the picture? On this point the whole question depends. Would this mode of suggesting contour ever occur to a man who had never seen drawing? Does not the former presuppose the latter, instead of ac

(315) counting for it? I do not presume to judge of the force of this objection, but feel that we can not afford to ignore it. If it is a just one, von den Steinen's explanation of course falls to the ground, and there is apparently nothing left but to refer the whole subject to playful experimentation. In this case we would best proceed from the sand drawing, since it is probable that the child or adult playfully marking on the sand accidentally produces some semblance to a natural object and adopts it as his own. Thus the child observed by Miss Shinn accidentally produced (110th week) a triangle in the midst of aimless scribbling, and repeated it afterward with conscious intent.[57] While absolute certainty is unattainable in such instances, it would still be valuable to make observations on a child who had never seen a pencil used for drawing or writing. Should such a one go on from scribbling to drawing, our play idea would receive valuable confirmation.

Another question is how far drawing, however acquired, may be regarded as a play. The finished production of the artist's pencil is not always so, by any means, for in modern times his art requires all a man's energies, and becomes his life calling and his means of support. Productions of dilettantes belong more to our sphere. But how is it with primitive folk? Here, too, the play idea is often excluded, for the reason that their drawings serve religious purposes, or are used as picture writing; yet, according to the views of recent ethnologists, it would be misleading to refer such drawing exclusively to these ends. " We are convinced," says Grosse, " that in the drawings of savage people, with comparatively few exceptions, neither a religious nor any other serious purpose is involved. We are perfectly right in trusting the numerous witnesses who assure us that such drawings are male simply for the pleasure of making them."[58] This establishes the pre-eminently playful character of primitive drawing and sculpture, and the efforts of children are still more obviously so. Imitative and imaginative play here join hands, the former making the point of depart-

(316) -ure while the expanding and illuminating power of the latter is needed to complete the satisfaction in the finished product.

As I am unfortunately unable to go into details,[59] I close the subject with some general remarks on the character of such drawing. For the child and for the savage the chief object of representation is one of the most difficult of all, namely, living animals. Miss Shinn's niece, who began with mathematical figures, is an exception accounted for by the fact that she was intentionally directed toward abstract form. Even the geometrical patterns in primitive ornamentation may often be traced to the imitation of animals, and a distinction between the work of these people and that of children lies in the fact that they prefer such figures while children incline to the human figure, which is rarely represented by savages. The explanation of this is that for the hunter the animals which he pursues form the chief objects of his. imagination, as any sportsman among ourselves who begins to draw will illustrate. A third view is presented when we ask what is the psychological antecedent of imitation. In civilized art it is as a rule conscious perception of the actual object, as genuine artists rarely paint from memory. But it is quite otherwise with children; they object to drawing from Nature, as H. T. Lukens points out.[60] They prefer to make the absent present by their art, and their passion for drawing is considerably dampened by the practice in observation which school discipline requires. The child's model is commonly a mental image, a fact which explains many of his particularities. The savage, too, from what we know of his art, seems to produce it not directly from the object, but from his impression of it, and thus it happens that he represents effects of things which are not visible to the beholder now, though

(317) they may have been elements of the scene which he recollects, and explains, too, in part his almost incredible errors in proportion and in the relative position of things, such as placing the mustache of a European above the eyes, or even on top of the head.[61] This suggests the distinction which Grosse makes between childish and primitive art. He thinks it strange that the two are even considered to be on a par, since children seldom show a trace of the hunter's close observation. The art of savages is, as a rule, naturalistic, that of children symbolic; the only actual resemblance being the lack of perspective in both. This view certainly contains an important germ of truth, but the statement is extreme. It is true that many drawings of primitive man display a remarkable truth to Nature, impossible to a child, and, as Grosse rightly says, resulting from trained powers of observation joined to the dexterity acquired in the manipulation of weapons and tools. But this wider knowledge and greater skill seem to me to be the sole grounds of difference, and the sharp distinction of naturalistic and symbolic unwarranted. Of course, drawing is in itself to a great degree symbolic, but the symbolism displayed by children, surprising as it often is, does not betoken any special preference for symbolism, but often results partly from incapacity and partly from the exigencies of the subject being represented. When full representation is unattainable they are satisfied to make their meaning intelligible, and savages, too, often resort to similar expedients. Grosse himself gives us some Australian drawings on wood where the human face is represented without a mouth, just as often happens in childish efforts. In these figures the fingers are symbolized by mere lines. In his valuable chapter on drawing among the Bakaïri, von den Steinen points out still closer analogy with children's work. He says, for example, that. AS a rule. only three. fingers and toes are indicated, to serve a5 a suggestion for the rest. It seem to me that it is then rather a question of more or less than any real difference.

Our next topic is the question of beauty, and here, too,

(318) the child and the savage are close parallels. Both have a certain interest in the introduction of colour which appeals to them, both object to carrying out the full type, both probably draw from memory, and both lack almost totally the appreciation of beautiful form. The savage, indeed, does introduce the simpler elements of beautiful form in his ornamentation, but in his representations of human and animal figures there is little effort to preserve such outlines. This bears out our former conclusion that savages have little appreciation for physical beauty as such, and with children it is much the same. Some children, it is true, make a general distinction between people who are beautiful and those who are ugly, but in drawing not only the ability but often the intention as well is wanting, to produce beautiful faces. When they do attempt something definite in the way of expression it is much more likely to be caricature of homeliness than beauty. It is known also that this tendency is especially displayed in periods of highly developed art, and more particularly by the Germans.

A final observation refers to children alone. I have already noted that imitative play, in which the player appears in dramatic relation to the puppet, while common enough with children, is not found in adult art unless at the most a partial analogy is traceable in some religious connections; these same principles apply to drawing. The child plays with the figures he has drawn as with dolls, and gives us a most attractive picture of his capacity for illusion. Marie G—, when four and a half years old, wanted to draw a holy family. First came a kneeling figure, whose position was most precarious—his knees would not bend properly, and for reverently folded hands there was a confusion of crossing lines. The little artist cried with annoyance: " The naughty child doesn't want to kneel. Joseph will be angry with him because he won't kneel down and say his prayers; he is stamping and scolding. You naughty child, won't you kneel down now and pray?" In the meantime she made Joseph (asking if he wore trousers), with his foot raised to stamp on the ground, and then came the kneeling figure —a good child now, at last. A little of this capacity for illusion is

(319) sometimes found among full-grown artists, and especially among the naïve religious painters who are conscious of the divine indwelling as they make their representations of religious subjects.

The consideration of plastic imitative play in its narrower sense will occupy us but a short time. Von den Steinen's explanation of drawing, given above, will hardly apply here. The probable starting point for such figures was the accidental resemblance of some outline to weapons, implements, or ornaments. The child's ready capacity for illusion which is as likely to call a circular outline an umbrella as a human head is not wanting in adults as well, and especially so among primitive people. When he makes a dagger handle out of a reindeer horn, or a necklace of various small objects, or adorns a clay vessel with impressions, and enjoys doing these things, his hands thus rendered skilful need but little help to make other images. Another possible origin is in experimentation with plastic material, such as clay or wag, which would naturally lead to moulding.

The first hypothesis is well illustrated by von den Steinen's description of the chain figures of the Bakaïri. He says, " As the rhyme often suggests the thought, so an outline already familiar may suggest a motive"; the meagre suggestions which satisfy savages in such cases " is evident in most of the figures which adorn their necklaces, strung between seeds, shells, and nuts. It matters not what is the material—a bit of the spiral of a rosecoloured snail shell with an irregular outline does duty as a crab; from the shell of the Caramujo branco (Orthalidicus melanostornus) they cut birds and fishes; . . . bits of green and black mottled stone are fishes when flat and birds when rounded, and sometimes Nature is assisted in carrying out these resemblances. Fruit, too, was used which bore an accidental resemblance to acme sort of bird."[62]

But Brazilian plastic art includes the other type as well; they mould figures in wax and in the edible clay which furnished their forefathers with food. As a man

(320) held a lump of clay in his hand the impulse may have been aroused by some accidental resemblance, and thus give rise in a purely playful manner to the custom which von den Steinen has called " only a skilful method of storing the material. . . Black wax was most beautifully moulded by the Mehinakû into excellent animal forms and suspended around the neck or laid away in a basket until wanted."[63] That this was a playful habit is proved by the maize figures of the same tribe. These were usually bird forms almost as large as turkeys, and hung from the roof on long ropes, "A strange spectacle to the traveller who thinks at once of idols or fetiches, but these fine birds are in reality nothing but well-filled ears of corn in the natural husks."[64] We can not here go into the higher forms of primitive sculpture, but it may be mentioned in passing that even such aboriginal tribes as the Indians of central Brazil often make use of their plastic skill for symbolic decoration. Thus the Mehinaku adorn the upper end of their wooden spades with the carved head of a mud wasp, because they too dig in the ground and throw up the dirt as the Indian does with his tool.[65]

We must pass still more hurriedly over the plastic efforts of children, which are of much less importance than their drawings, though among the children of savages the disposition to attempt a rude sort of sculpture is much more common than with us. Nachtigal relates that the negro children of Runga formed rhinoceroses and elephants out of the beautiful red clay which abounds there.[66] There are individual instances of a similar kind among civilized children. Ricci has taken some trouble to make a collection of such work by Italian children, and finds it differs less from the efforts of savages than their drawing does.[67] On the whole, however, this branch of art

(321) seems to be comparatively little prized or pursued with the exception of making snow men and some caricatures in wax, dough fruits, and the fashioning in sand of gardens, streets, cities, tunnels, and forts which are all about as much imitative play as production.

In conclusion I offer a few general remarks on imitation in connection with representative art, where three forms of it can be distinguished—objective, artistic, and subjective imitation. The first consists, as we have seen, in repetition founded on sense-perception and simple memory, while the last permits considerable deviation from reality. The child and probably the savage prefers to produce from memory.

Artistic imitation may be defined as the influence of copies produced by other artists. It plays in art the same rôle as that which falls to tradition in general culture, for without it the artistic genius would have little advantage over the gifted savage; indeed, even with him artistic imitation is of great importance. It is not alone the wish to do what others have attained; it is also the via regia to the higher evolution of art. A stimulating task is to trace in history how originality was won by copying. Baldwin's little girl began to build a church from blocks after a picture. When she has laid the foundation, suddenly her face lights up and she begins to depart from the model. On being reminded by her father that churches are not built in that way she answers, " Oh, no; I am making an animal with a head and a tail and four legs," and, full of pride in her new discovery, she returns to her work of art, which is no longer a church, but has been turned into an animal.[68] We see here, as in a magnifying glass, the law of progress. Not in random discharges but from real action comes the new; and the action that leads to the new is not original, but must be imitative. [69]

This imitative action must not only always have another artist's work as its model; here may enter our principle of subjective or self-imitation, which, indeed, is more a physiological than a psychological principle since

(322) it is no other than all-powerful habit in its spontaneous form, the impulse to repeat.

Children best illustrate it, but the familiar saying that genius consists in an infinite capacity for taking pains is a popular expression of the fact that progress depends on indefatigable perseverance. It is Baldwin's persistent imitation again. And self-imitation is as indispensable to progress as is the imitation of others, acting in conjunction with the law of habit, according to which the frequent use of an act tends to make it easy. The conservative principle of imitation furnishes a basis for higher development by supplying an incentive for the mechanical effort required by the first. laborious accomplishment of the task, as well as for the introduction of new details and the application of effective variations. Here, too, an example from child psychology clearly shows the coupling of new with old habits. A child observed by Perez had learned to draw a locomotive, and was so charmed with the accomplishment that he did not want to draw anything else. One day his grandmother wanted him to make a portrait of her, and what did the boy do but draw a locomotive with a firstclass carriage attached, and his grandmother's head protruding from one of the windows![70] In similar way the painting of landscape began in history with little pieces of background piping out of figure pictures.

4. Inner Imitation

The conviction has long prevailed [71] among German students of aesthetics that one of the weightiest problems of their science is offered by that familiar process by which we put ourselves into the object observed, and thus attain a sort of inward sympathy with it. In France the same problem has been treated in a notable manner by Jouffroy, who says, " Imiter en soi l'état extérieurement

(233) manifeste de la nature vivante, c'est ressentir l'effet esthétique fondamental."[72] In this very complicated process we can distinguish these leading characteristics: 1a. The mind conceives of the experience of the other individual as if it were its own. 1b. We live through the psychic states which a lifeless object would experience if it possessed a mental life like our own. 2a. We inwardly participate in the movements of an external object. 2b. We also conceive of the motions which a body at rest might make if the powers which we attribute to it were actual (the fluidity of form). 3. We transfer the temper, which is the result of our own inward sympathy, to the object and speak of the solemnity of the sublime, the gaiety of beauty, etc.

By including all these under the rather inadequate name of aesthetic sympathy, and bearing in mind what we learned in the review of aesthetic pleasure, we can not fall into the error of supposing that they include the whole field; yet at the same time we must see that their explanation involves not only its most difficult but also its most important problem. Why is this?

The attempt might be made to answer this question entirely in terms of the psychology of association, only we should then be forced to designate processes as associational which do not at all come under the original definition of the word—namely, processes of fusing or blending, which is not the bringing of a succession of disparate ideas into special relations, but rather a unifying process, in which the after-effect of past experience and the present perception blends to an inseparable synthesis.

I select, then, as an example, the latest utterance of Upps on the impression produced by a Doric column, citing only those points which seem to meet our purpose. He speaks first of the mechanical method of regarding the column anal then continues: "But another element follows this naturally. Mechanical events external to us are not the only things in the world. There are events lying nearer to us in every sense of the word since they place within us; and these are similar or analogous to the

(324) external events. Moreover, we have the disposition to regard similar things from the same point of view, and this point of view is determined preferably by the nearest object. Therefore we compare what happens externally with what happens in or to ourselves and judge of it according to the analogy of our own experience" After remarking that such a method of observation is implied in such expressions as " strength," " aspiration," etc., as applied to a column, Lipps goes on: " Our satisfaction is not of the general kind which applies to the universal idea of strength, effort, activity. Every mechanical event has its special character or its special manner of fulfilment. This may be easier, more untrammelled, or more difficult, and requiring the overcoming of more serious obstacles; it may require greater or less expenditure of `force.' All this reminds us of our own inner processes and evokes those, not indeed identical in character, but analogous. It presents to us an image of similar effort on our own part, and with it the peculiar personal sensations which accompany the act. The mechanical event which seems to fulfil itself 'with ease' incites us to an equally simple and expeditious act; the violent expenditure of vigorous mechanical energy, to an exertion of our own will power, to which is added the feeling of lightness and freedom proper to a self-originated act, and in other cases the not less agreeable feeling of our own strength." Omitting what intervenes I add the conclusion of the treatise: " From the conditions indicated there results not, indeed, the entire aesthetic impression produced by a Doric column, but a considerable part of it. The vigorous curves and spring of such a pillar afford me joy by reminding me of those qualities in myself and of the pleasure I derive from seeing them in another. I sympathize with the column's manner of holding itself and attribute to it qualities of life because I recognise in it proportions and other relations agreeable to me. Thus all enjoyment of form, and indeed all aesthetic enjoyment whatsoever, resolves itself into an agreeable feeling of sympathy."[73]


Here we encounter the difficulty mentioned above. It is evident from these extracts that this is a case of successive associations. We are "reminded" of similar subjective processes, and the " idea " of similar acts of our own is "evoked," be they facile or strenuous. But successive associations are not available as an element in esthetic enjoyment, as Lipps [74] goes on to say: " Moreover, all this takes place without reflection. Just as we do not first see the pillar and subsequently work out its mechanical interpretation, so the second, personal interpretation, can not be said to follow the other. The being of the column, as I perceive it, is necessitated by mechanical causes which themselves appear to me to be from the standpoint of human action."[75] Then we have not a true image of our own deeds before us; we are not actually "reminded," for the process is one of simultaneous fusion, in which the consequences of earlier experience unite with sense-perception to effect a direct harmony. From this direct blending at the instant of perception we see why, to the observer, the pillar seems to hold itself " as I do when I brace myself and stand up straight."

Assuming that this simple presentation of the psychology of inner sympathy furnishes the elements of an explanation, still, in my opinion, the state of aesthetic enjoyment is not yet sufficiently accounted for. The fusion processes described form part of a general psychological fact, and it is impossible to complete an act of apperception without such synthesis. The question must be answered as to how aesthetic perception is differentiated as a particular satisfaction from general apperception; and the answer brings us directly to the idea of play. Take thunder, for example. On the ground of the synthetic process, its roar makes, universally and naturally, the impression of a mighty voice raised in anger. The chill lens that impression when it frightens him; so has the savage man when he regards it with religious awe. But neither feeling is on that account aesthetic that comes only when the hearer enjoys the emotional effect of the phenomenon as such, rendered possible by the process of fu-

(326) -sion; when he has an independent, self-centred pleasure in this result—that is to say, when he plays. The same remarks apply to the column. It is self-evident that we can not think of its upward spring without calling in our earlier experiences, but it seems to me to be just as apparent that in aesthetic perception the impression is intentionally lingered over only for the sake of its pleasure-giving qualities, i. e., playfully.

Further, I think it is certain that there is in the play of aesthetic enjoyment a condition of consciousness analogous to that underlying a special class of plays—namely, the experimental. The force of this analogy has impelled various students of various lands, independently of one another, to this common goal. It is, of course, only a relationship of conditions of consciousness, not genuine identity; but we may affirm this much—namely, that inner sympathy is at least as closely connected with dramatic imitation as the latter is with plastic imitation. If the dramatic begins with a mere motor reaction, which tends more and more to identify itself with self-transference into the condition of another being, then inner imitation appears as but a further step toward spiritualizing the imitative impulse. When, therefore, I designate aesthetic sympathy as a play of inner imitation I believe I have correctly characterized the psychic attitude of aesthetic enjoyment as far as it is based on the fusion processes.

But I must go a step further. So far we have had in mind only past acts and their effects as the psychological precedent of such sympathy, and herein lies, in my opinion, the inadequacy of the whole associative method. The sympathy of an aesthetic nature possesses such warmth and intimacy, and such progressive force, that the effects of former experience, however indispensable, are not sufficient, as Volkelt, Dilthey, Th. Ziegler, and A. Biese have justly remarked. Mere echoes of the past can not bring about what I understand as the play of inner imitation. On the strength of my experience I hold fast to inner imitation as an actuality, and one connected with motor processes, which bring it into much closer touch with external imitation than the foregoing dissertation would indicate. I have intentionally made use of the qualifications " in

(327) my opinion," " in my experience," etc. For, theoretically at least, I must admit the possibility that persons may exist for whom aesthetic enjoyment does not get beyond the stage here indicated. All that follows relates to those only in whose aesthetic pleasures motor accompaniments are apparent, whether subjects of consciousness or inaccessible to the self-examiner.

In attempting to develop the main points of this fuller conception of inner imitation, I first take up the analogy between the child's dramatic imitation and aesthetic sympathy.[76] The child playing with a doll raises the lifeless thing temporarily to the place of a symbol of life. He lends the doll his own soul whenever he answers a question for it; he lends to it his feelings, conceptions, and aspirations; he gives to it the pretence of mobility by posing it in a manner that implies movement, or by his simple fiat when he asserts that it has nodded, or beckoned, or opened its mouth. Here the resemblance to aesthetic sympathy is already strong, and is still further augmented by the use of the child's own body as the instrument of his mimic play. His attitudes and positions are then symbolic. The boy who with the paltry aid of a paper helmet and a stick to stride can identify himself with the cavalry officer whom he imitates has the soul of a fighter. And he can extend this power of symbolic imitation to inanimate things as well; kneeling with his hands on the floor, he is a bench which easily turns into a locomotive as soon as forward motion and the puffing sound suggest it. We have here illustrated the power of illusion to convert a mere symbol into the thing symbolized, entering fully into the pretence and yet not confusing itself with reality, just as in aesthetic sympathy. Thus imitation proves itself to be the author of the symbol.

This external imitation proclaims the inner. What, then, constitutes the difference between the two, and how are we to define inner imitation in the fuller sense in which it is used here? We have seen that external imita-

(328) -tion is at the same time inner sympathy, and the external bodily movements are chiefly directed toward furtherance of this and of the transference of self which accompanies it. But how is it when external visible imitative movements are wanting? Is inner sympathy to be conceived of as merely a brain process in which only the recollection of past movements, attitudes, etc., is blended with sense perception? By no means. There is still activity, and that in the common sense of the word as it relates to motor processes. It is manifested in various movements whose imitative character may not be perceptible to others. In this instantaneous perception of the movements actually in progress I find the central fact with which blend, on the one hand, imitation of past experiences, and on the other the perceptions of sense.

Inquiry concerning the complex movements of inner imitation is not yet past its opening stages, but so much seems to be established—namely, that by it are called forth movement and postural sensations (especially those of equilibrium), light muscular innervation, together with visual and respiratory movement, all of which are of great importance. Movements of the eyes have been given special attention by R. Vischer,[77] sensations of rest by Couturat. [78] Wundt has made eye movements of general psychological interest, and S. Stricker [79] has attempted to do the same for the muscular sensations called forth by the central impulses (at the present stage, including principally tactile sensations of the skin, as well as muscular and joint sensations). Intensely interesting is the article by Vernon Lee and Anstruther-Thomson on beauty and its contrary,[80] which quotes a number of observers who, as much from practice as from the possession of exceptional gifts, far transcend the limits attained by the average man in self-observation. Couturat and Stricker advance the idea that such movement processes, so far as they depend on mild muscular contraction, are due to the imitative impulse.


Before adducing some examples, I must venture on one more observation. It is not, of course, to be assumed that such external movements are necessarily genuine copies of sense-perceptions. In the psychological treatment of eye movements, for example, sufficient caution has not been exercised, and consequently a false standard has arisen, transcending the facts. Here we shall find a comparison with external dramatic imitation play of great value, bearing in mind that the result of the latter is a symbol, not a counterpart. When a boy has to cut off his comrade's head in dramatic play, a very soft blow with a stick is sufficient to indicate execution with the sword of justice, and in the same way and degree the movement of which we are speaking may be symbolic. Suppose a man fancying a huge spiral imprinted on the wall in front of him. If he remembers the motor processes he can reproduce them at will; little movements of the eyes, little tensions of the neck muscles and in the throat, together with breathing movements, are useful and (at least in my own case) even indispensable, and yet there is no really spiral motion—the symbol is sufficient.[81]

I now present a few examples. First, as regards the optical perception of movement. "When I am in good physical condition," says Stricker, " and take my stand at some distance from an exercise ground so that I can watch the company with ease but not catch the word of command, I feel certain muscular sensations quite as strongly as if I stood under the command and attempted to follow it. When the troop marches, I keep time with them in the sensations of my lower limbs; when they go through the arm exercise, I have quite intense muscular feelings in my upper arm; when they turn, I feel the same in my back."[81] The following passage shows that the same individual can experience also other symbolic sensations of movement: "From the exercise ground I went to the theatre to see the gymnasts, and first watched one using a springboard. At the moment when he leaped

(330) from it I had a distinct sensation in my chest, and the feeling, too, of motion in the muscles of my eyes."[82] In poetic art inner imitation of movements must also be given due weight. [83] Lessing's requirements for a poet depend largely on this, for on its subjective side poetic enjoyment is connected with memory pictures, and movement is conspicuous in these.[84]

All this is true in a higher degree of the enjoyment of musical movement. Herder said once: " The passionate part of our nature (to qumikon) rises and falls, it throbs or glides softly. Now it sweeps us along, now holds us back; it is now weak, now strong; its own movement, its step, as it were, varies with every modulation, with every strong accent and vanishes as the tone varies. Music strikes a chord in our innermost nature."[85] In all this we find not only the effect of association, but actual motor processes in our own bodies, which extend from the rhythmical movements, visible for others, to the most delicate (and invisible) associations in the inner part of our body. The process which I tried to characterize in the section on hearing-play is with me connected with breathing movements and tensions of the throat and mouth muscles, and is thus symbolic in both directions. Those who play much on some instrument commonly find that with them the tension is of those muscles which they most use this is apt to be especially the case in recalling a remembered melody. We must avoid a too free assumption of " internal song," as well as of throat movements. Baldwin says,[86] " I am able with the greatest ease to hold aloud an â sound at c", say, and at the same time cause a whole tune say Yankee Doodle to run its course ` in my ear."' I, too, can do this, though not with ease; the remembered tune is literally " in the head"—that is to say, I have

(331) the sensations of movement which represent this melody clearly in my mind, where they are difficult to locate, but are actual sensations, not mere memories. I can observe this process to better advantage by holding my breath and drumming on the table, hearing a melody in the rhythmic movement. These instances, however, do not clear up the undeniable contrast between an acoustic and a motor melody, particularly as in the first, motor accompaniments are entirely wanting. This is probably the case in a much higher degree for aesthetic enjoyment than for mere recollection.

I pass finally to the consideration of the aesthetic impression of objects at rest, giving first two examples from the article already cited, by Vernon Lee and Anstruther -Thomson, who seem to stand aside altogether from the conflict raging among our own students of aesthetics and psychology at present devoting themselves to this subject. They are more under the influence of the Lange-James sensation theory, in the pursuance of which they have little in common with the theory of symbolism as advanced here, and do not even make use of the term inner imitation. Yet the fact of it leads them to the expression " to mime " in attempting to characterize aesthetic perception. Their observations undoubtedly transcend the normal (particularly in motor types), and in some instances practice comes to the aid of natural endowment, while auto-suggestion occasionally plays a part. These extreme cases, however, may serve to call the reader's attention to the normal conditions, which are not so obvious.

The first example relates to the inspection of a jar. "Here is a jar equally common in antiquity and in modern peasant ware. Looking at this jar one has a specific sense of a whole. One's bodily sensations are extraordinarily composed, balanced, correlated in their diversity. To begin with, the feet press on the ground, while the eyes fix the base of the jar. Then one accompanies the lift up, so to speak, of the body of the jar by a lift up of one's own body; and one accompanies by a slight sense of downward pressure of the head the downward pressure of the widened rim on the jar's top. Meanwhile, the

(332) jar's equal sides bring both lungs into equal play; the curve outward of the jar's two sides is simultaneously followed by an inspiration as the eyes move up to the jar's widest point. Then expiration begins, and the lungs seem closely to collapse as the curve inward is followed by the eyes, till, the narrow part of the neck being reached, the ocular following of the widened-out top provokes a short inspiration. Moreover, the shape of the jar provokes movement of balance, the left curve a shifting on to the left foot, and vice versa. A complete and equally distributed set of bodily adjustments has accompanied the ocular side of the jar; this totality of movements and harmony of movements in ourselves answers to the intellectual fact, of finding that the jar is a harmonious whole."[87]

Now an example of the influence of attention in the observation of plastic form: "We can not satisfactorily focus a stooping figure like the Medicean Venus if we stand before it bolt upright and with tense muscles, nor a very erect and braced figure like the Apoxyomenos if we stand before it humped up and with slackened muscles. In such cases the statue seems to evade our eye, and it is impossible to realize its form thoroughly; whereas, when we adjust our muscles in imitation of the tenseness or slackness of the statue's attitude, the statue immediately becomes a reality to us."[88]

It is easy to turn such passages into ridicule (and there are some much stranger in the article), but the fact is that they are only extreme expressions of actual elements in all the motor forms of aesthetic enjoyment. But the authors have not grasped the fact of symbolism, and they stress too much the sensations of movement, just as Sergi, for example, has done in his Dolera a Piacere. When the scholar in Riehl's Burg Neideck, on his first sight of an extended plain, had the feeling of being himself widened out, this effect was in all probability due to sensations produced by breathing movements. Yet this is not in itself the whole satisfaction, but rather a mere motor symbol which satisfies the imitative impulse, just as the

(333) external suggestion is responded to by dramatic imitation, or the little motions of the body in the phantastic visions of the dream.

To answer the question of how this play of inner imitation originates, it must be borne in mind that voluntary external imitation must always be preceded by a stadium of adjustment (or "Einstellung"). So it is especially in childhood, where this prodromal stage is often of long duration. And what are here the objects of the child's imitation?—sounds, gestures, attitudes. Now sounds, gestures, and attitudes are also the very objects of inner imitation in aesthetic pleasure.

In concluding, we are confronted by the question whether this faculty of inner imitation belongs exclusively to a special group of individuals—namely, the distinctly motor type. If this is so, then a very important part of the aesthetic satisfaction is confined to a fraction of the human race. One hesitates to affirm that we of the motor type labour under the disadvantage of taking intense pleasure in a state which is lacking in physical resonance, so to speak; and yet, if this is the case, we still can boast that fusion with past processes which after all leaves the plus sign in our favour. I am convinced, however, that no such sharp distinction of types is warranted by the facts, the difference being as a rule one of quantity or degree of individual endowment. Ability to observe such movements in one's self is no criterion. There may be individuals with very strong inner imitative movements who are unable to separate the motor. element from the tout ensemble. To illustrate the difficulty: A man who glances suddenly to the right imparts to surrounding objects an apparent motion to the left (this may help to account for the "fluidity of form "), yet to many it is impossible to get a clear perception of this, even under the most favourable conditions. In the same way there arc probably many who deserve to be reckoned with the motors in aesthetic enjoyment who are yet unable to make their own movements a matter of observation.



  1. G. Tarde, Les loin de limitation. Second edition, Paris, 1895.
  2. J. M. Baldwin, Mental Development, and Social and Ethical Interpretations.
  3. Habit and Instinct. London and New York, 1896, p. 166.
  4. Baldwin's further distinction between tradition and social heredity seems true enough, but not especially practical.
  5. Gedanken über Musik bei Thieren and beim Menschen. Deutsche Rundschau, October, 1889.
  6. See Baldwin's A New Factor in Evolution, in The American Naturalist, June, July, 1896.
  7. The Senses and the Intellect, p. 408.
  8. James Mill Analysis of the Phenomena of the Human Mind. vol.. ii, chap. xxiv. Tiedemann's remarks on the subject, too, are clear and brief. Op. cit., p 12.
  9. See A. Wander, Das Bewusstsein des Wollens. Zeitschr. f. Psych. u. Phvs. d. Sin.. vols. x and xvii.
  10. The strove emphasis of imitation in hypnosis seems to support this, for there we have a decided narrowing of the consciousness so that the antagonistic motive has little showing compared with the idea of movement.
  11. An attempt to explain the charm of what is forbidden, not by means of the fighting, impulse but on the ground of psychic inhibition may be found in Lipps's Grundthatsachen des Seelenleben, pp. 634, 641.
  12. In this triumph we find a means of explanation for the exhilarating effect of simple—that is neither mischievous nor mocking-imitation.
  13. The biological criterion of practice of the impulse is not very well applicable to imitation. We do not copy playfully in order to be able to copy seriously, and, moreover, playful imitation itself accomplishes the purpose. Yet the practice theory is of course indebted to the contributions of imitation in the highest degree.
  14. The question as to whether play may not be more extensive from a purely biological standpoint is touched upon in the theoretical division.
  15. "I looked for great men," said Nietzsche once, "and found them only aping their ideals." Vol. viii, p. 66.
  16. Social and Ethical interpretations, p. 103.
  17. Fr. Tracy, The Psychology of Childhood, fourth edition, Boston, 1897, p. 104.
  18. Mental Development, etc., p. 123. Egger Le developpement de l'intelligence et du langage chez les enfants, p. 10.
  19. Op. cit., p. 354. See Perez (Les trois premières années, etc., p. 124), who assumes involuntary imitation in the second month.
  20. Die Seele des Kindes, p. 186.
  21. Preyer, op. cit., p 188.
  22. Kind and Welt, p. 129.
  23. Lloyd Morgan calls one imitation and the other copying (Habit and Instinct, p. 171).
  24. Op. cit., p. 188.
  25. Op. cit., p. 88.
  26. Mental Development, p. 123.
  27. Op. cit., p. 88.
  28. Notes on the Development of a Child, p. 112.
  29. Op. cit., pp. 314, 321.
  30. See, on the other hand, Preyer's conclusion given below. Op. cit., p. 369.
  31. See Ufer's article on Sigismund's Kind and Welt.
  32. Jodl calls the root word, which lie and others refer neither to interjectional nor imitative origin, ideal roots; I prefer to call them experimental roots.
  33. It should be remembered that the appearance of an imitative speech is quite natural in connection with gesture language. We do not know certainly, however, which preceded the other.
  34. Lehrbuch der Psychologie, p. 570.
  35. See Franz Magnus Boehme, op. cit., p. 218.
  36. "The howling blast through the groaning wood
    Wrenching the giant pine, which, in its fall,
    Crashing sweeps down its neighbouring trunks and boughs,
    While with the hollow noise the hills resound." Miss Swanwick's translation.
  37. Gedanken zu einer Aesthetik auf entwickelungsgeschichtlicher Grundlage. Zeitschr. f. Psych. u. Phys. d. Sinnesorgane, vol. xiv (1897).
  38. Hall and Allin, Psychology of Tickling, Laughing, etc., pp. 15-17.
  39. Miss Shinn reports a kind of animal dance by a child in its third year (ono. cit., p 127).
  40. Among the varied decorations which the natives of British New Guinea wear at their holiday dances is the bushy tail, which is placed quite as high as on the antique fauns. See A. C. Haddon, Intern. Arch. Ehnogr., vol. xi (1893).
  41. Hall and Allin, Psychology of Tickling, Laughing, etc., pp. 15-17.
  42. Livingstone's last Journals from Central Africa.
  43. Captain Jacobsen's Reise an der Nordwestküste Amerikas, 1881 '83, Leipsic, 1884, p. 85.
  44. Signe Rink, Aus dem Leben der Europaer in Gronland, Ausland. vol. Ixvi (1893), p. 762.
  45. Mental Development, p. 357.
  46. W. Svoboda, Die Bewohner das Nikobaren-Archipels. Intern. Arch. f. Ethnogr., vol. v (1892).
  47. W. Joest, Weltfahrten, Berlin, 1895 vol. ii, p. 162.
  48. Pechuël-Loesche's report of a monkey's play with a doll shows that it was mere experimentation (The Play of Animals, p. 169).
  49. B. Attain, Der Vogel and rein Leben, Munster, 1895, pp. 188, 189.
  50. Mental Development, p. 362 (omitted from the German version).
  51. Thus, to mention one example, Marie G— had no sooner adopted a small thermometer as a baby than she spied the tassel which it hung up by, and called everybody's attention to its lovely head.
  52. The Japanese collection in the Berlin Museum is the finest that I have ever seen.
  53. See J. Walter Fewkes, Dolls of the Tusayan Indians. Int. Arch. f. Ethnogr., vol. vii (1894). Fewkes is very careful about committing himself on this point.
  54. Op. cit., p. 254.
  55. Unter den Naturvölkern Central-Brasiliens, p. 230.
  56. Ibid.
  57. Op. cit., p. 98. See also Sully's Studies, p. 333.
  58. Op. cit., p. 195.
  59. See on this point Grosse's Anfange der Kunst and the chapter on The Young Draughtsman in Sully's Studies of Childhood. If space allowed I could give similar particulars of my nephew Max K —'s work. In this boy the artistic impulse all turned to the representation of animals, in which he became a master. He took the great scissors and cut away almost without looking, and with every turn of the shears he turned his body too (an instance of the outer effects of inner imitation).
  60. H. T. Lukens, Die Entwickelung beim Zeichnen, Die Kinderfehler, ii (1897).
  61. Von den Steinen, Unter den Naturvölkern, p. 235.
  62. Unter den Naturvölkern, etc., p. 251.
  63. Unter den Naturvölkern, pp. 1251, 254, 1255, 257.
  64. Ibid.
  65. Ibid.
  66. G. Nachtigal, Sahara and Sudan, Leipsic, 1889, vol. iii, p. 133. See, too, Knabenspiele im dunkeln Welttheil, Deutsche Kolornazeitung,1898, No. 42.
  67. Conrads Ricci, L'arte dei Bambini, Bologna, 1887. The young Canova, when a kitchen boy, betrayed his talent as a sculptor by moulding a lion in butter.
  68. Social and Ethical interpretations, p. 106.
  69. Ibid. pp. 94 ff.
  70. B. Perez, L'art et la poésie chez l'enfant, Paris, 1888, p. 200. The self-evident truth that forces the contrary of imitation are also operative in the progress of art is not the proper subject of this investigation.
  71. J. Volkelt, Der Symbol Begriff in der neuesten Aesthetik, Jena, 1876 ; and P. Stern, Einfädlung and Association in der neueren Aesthetik, Hamburg and Leipsic, 1898.
  72. Jouffroy, Cours d'esthétique, Paris, 1845, p. 256.
  73. Dr. Lipps. Rannasthetik and geometrische-optische Täuschungen, Leipsic, 1897, p. 5.
  74. See P. Stern, op. cit., p. 46.
  75. Op. cit., p. 7.
  76. I have dwelt on this point both in my Einleitung in die Aesthetik and in the Spiels der Thiere. Further treatment of it may be found in K. Lange's Künstlerischer Erziehung der deutschen Jugend.
  77. Ueber dos optische Formgefühl, Stuttgart, 1873.
  78. La Beauté plastique. Revue philosophique, vol. xxxv (1893).
  79. Studien fiber die Bewegungsvorstellungen. Wien. 1882.
  80. Beauty and Ugliness. Contemporary Review 1891
  81. A confirmation of this, which is especially valuable because it is not intended as a contribution to aesthetics, is found in Stricker, op. ca., pp. 16, 21, 26.
  82. Stricker, op. cit., p. °3. The application to the observation of dancing is self-evident.
  83. See Hubert Roetteken, Zur Lehre von den Darstellungsmitteln in der Poesie.
  84. See Külpe, Grundriss zur Psychologie, p. 149. Külpe is of the opinion that possibly voluntary recollection is never unaccompanied by movement.
  85. Kalligone, Leipsic, 1800, vol. i, p. 116.
  86. Mental Development, p. 407.
  87. Op. cit., pp. 554, 677.
  88. Ibid.

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