mise en abyme

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From French mise en abyme (literally placed into abyss).


mise en abyme (usually uncountable, plural mise en abymes)

  1. (literary theory) Self-reflection or introspection in a literary or other artistic work; the representation of the whole work embedded in a work.
    • 1992, Marie Murphy, Authorizing Fictions, page 80,
      The narrative mapping of rhetorical strategies between narrator, characters and readers is supplemented by a network of interior duplication with the device of the mise en abyme.
    • 1995, Robert L. Brawley, Text to Text Pours Forth Speech: Voices of Scripture in Luke-Acts, page 39,
      Implicitly, the enunciative mise en abyme reflects an implied author who is attempting to persuade an authorial audience that would identify with the dismayed people.
    • 1999, James Schiffer, Shakespeare's Sonnets: Critical Essays, 2010, unnumbered page,
      Herman finds that “the opening poems are as marked by 'linguistic difference' and mise en abymes as the poems addressed to the dark lady.”
    • 2009, Gregory Minissale, Framing Consciousness in Art: Transcultural Perspectives, page 49,
      At the risk of some simplification, I understand the mise en abyme to mean a process of representation within representation which points to the mise en abyme of consciousness that produces it, and is engaged with it in the art experience.
    • 2011, Irene Marques, Transnational Discourses on Class, Gender, and Cultural Identity, page 160,
      These mise en abymes serve to maintain the sacredness of K's self, his otherness in the infinitum, as Lévinas might say.
    • 2011, Jonathan Boulter, Melancholy and the Archive: Trauma, History and Memory in the Contemporary Novel, page 124,
      And thus, we can perhaps makes some sense of the narratives he reads as mise en abymes of his own desires.

See also[edit]


Alternative forms[edit]


  • IPA(key): /miz ɑ̃.n‿a.bim/


mise en abyme f (plural mises en abyme)

  1. mise en abyme