Mannerism used to be considered as an expression of decadence in long periods of literary history. Its aestheticism, declension from the phenomena of trivial experience, self-complacent game with its own potential and accentuation of rhetoric were understood as an expression of a sophistical attitude. The value of mannerism is really situated in the auto-reflective gesture, in conscious shaping of processes of its own conception. Positive re-interpretation of this mannerist auto-referential is connected with the changes within the perspectives of literary scholarship, which in the position of post-structuralism shows increased sensitiveness to similar phenomena. In German environment, deconstruction and system theory are those that intensely approximate to these problems. In this optics it is just needed to subject to post-structuralistic analysis the poetics of one of the most remarkable representatives of Italian mannerism, Giovanni Battista Marino. The aim of this analysis is to detect the meaning of auto-reflection as a constitutive principle yet, before the start of 'modernity'. Particularly this analysis will refer to 'Narcissus- and echo-poems' (Narziss- und Echo-Gedichte) of Marino's 'La Galeria'. Here, according to my thesis, the problem of auto-reflection, culminates in a special way. One of the reasons of this is Marino's reference of shaping the Narcissus' myth in Ovid's 'Metamorphoses'. It will manifest in which way the myth as a rhetorical-topological meta-myth was accepted in a imaginative lyrical poetry and made functional regarding to the elaborated auto-poetic concept. Recourse to Horace's statement 'ut picture poiesis' is important which is specifically modified by Marino. His Narcissus poems in relation of the image and poem show the mimetic function of literature which became problematic in the inter-textual concept of 'memoria'.
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