The term "imitation" is not prominent in the vocabulary of
criticism today. In such use as it still has, it serves to segregate
the bad from the good in art rather more frequently than to set
the boundaries of art. Yet as late as the eighteenth century imitation
was the mark and differentia of the arts, or at least of some of them.
To the critics of that century, literature and painting were imitative
arts, and it was still important to debate whether or not music was an
art of imitation.'