More than half a century after its translation into English,Erich Auerbach’s Mimesis remains a masterpiece of literarycriticism. A brilliant display of erud. More than half a century after its translation into English, Erich Auerbach’s Mimesis remains a masterpiece of literary criticism. A brilliant display. LibraryThing Review. User Review – nbmars – LibraryThing. This book is extremely difficult. In each chapter, Auerbach compares two texts. Usually at least one.

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English translation Original Language: Dante, Cervantes, and morel Wonderful translation–reads like a dream.

Mimesis: the representation of reality in Western literature

In reading reviews of Mimesis, I came across Benjamin Walter’s analysis of the book, in which he makes a comparison between Plato’s skeptical and hostile feelings toward mimesis read The title, Mimesis, is very insightful just by itself. Feb 27, Haengbok92 rated it it was amazing Shelves: This becomes increasingly difficult the further our historical envir “If the text of the Biblical narrative, then, is so greatly ayerbach need lliterature interpretation on the basis of its own content, its claim to absolute authority forces it still further in the same direction.

More than half a century after its translation into English, Erich Auerbach’s Mimesis remains a masterpiece of literary criticism. Pages with related products. This new expanded edition includes a substantial essay in introduction by Edward Said as well as an essay, never before translated into English, in which Auerbach responds to his critics. But when, through too great a change in environment and through the awakening of a critical consciousness, this becomes impossible, the Biblical claim to absolute authority is jeopardized; the method of interpretation is scorned and rejected, the Biblical stories become ancient legends, and the doctrine they had contained, now represebtation from them, becomes a aurbach image.

Mimesis: the representation of reality in Western literature – Erich Auerbach – Google Books

There he wrote Mimesispublishing it in German after the end of the war. And very often, indeed generally, this element of development gives the Old Testament stories a historical character, even when the subject is purely legendary and traditional. It is an entertaining read. This thing blew my mind. Continuing, Auerbach uses an exploration of Rabelais to develop his theme, then turning to Montaigne, Shakespeare, and Cervantes.


Beneath the conflicts, and also through them, an economic and cultural leveling process is taking place. The title, Mimesis, is very insightful just by itself. The Homeric poems present a definite complex of events whose boundaries in space and time are clearly delimited; before it, beside it, and after it, other complexes of events, which do not depend upon it, can be conceived without conflict and without difficulty.

This development of an intermediate and then ultimately another “mixed style” Shakespeare, Hugo leads to what Auerbach calls the “modern realism” of the nineteenth-century see chapter nineteen on Flaubert. His close auerbacg to the primary texts also makes this, for me, a more enjoyable read than much other literary criticism, which either reacts largely to other critical texts or makes speculations and abstract claims about primary works or both.

Thrilled to find on Kindle. Auerbach seems to be arguing for the latter. The author typically quotes a short passage in its original language, a translation follows, then a close analysis of the language, and then a discussion of the historical milieu that gave rise to the work. A brilliant display of erudition, wit, and wisdom, his exploration of how great European writers from Homer to Virginia Woolf depicted reality has taught generations how Far from seeking, like Homer, merely to make us forget our own reality for a few hours, it seeks to overcome our reality: Apr 24, Dayla rated it really liked it Recommends it for: Contents 1 Odysseus Scar.

His insights into all this literature go beyond supports for his primary thesis, and the informed reader will find himself enlightened and challenged at every turn. Chaucer and Wordsworth are not mentioned even in passing, though Shakespeare and Virginia Woolf are given full chapters and Dickens and Henry Fielding make appearances. The first chapter, Odysseus’ scar, is still used by classicists today. Instead, Auerbach, due to his circumstances at the time of its writing, provides a passage from each work he discusses and proceeds to comment upon and extrapolate from that passage.

His aim was to show how from antiquity to the twentieth century literature progressed toward ever more naturalistic and democratic forms of representation. Princeton University Press; 50 anniversary edition July 1, Language: I sure am glad I did.

Mimesis: The Representation of Reality in Western Literature

As a result of this claim to absolute authority, the method of interpretation spread to traditions other than the Jewish. Though Shakespeare has aristocratic tendencies in making only the most socially noble characters tragic, he is the Cosmic Poet because of the interrelatedness of this world he creates and which renews itself with each character.


Every essay I’ve read so far has been really interesting which is only three. Jan 24, Michel Van Goethem rated it it was amazing. This book is partic Auerbach tracks the development of realism in Mimewis literature from Tthe to the twentieth century novel, highlighting the style of the gospels and the thought of Christianity as the decisive influence in the move away from the classical style to the concern with the inner world and the lower classes evinced in later Western literature.

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All of these essays would work on their own, and be respected pieces in their fields. Of MimesisAuerbach wrote that his “purpose is always to write history. Feb 26, Maria added it. Little hard to get anywhere in this-maybe its a little dated, maybe this guy’s to smart for me, maybe its other things. Idiosyncrasy justified by a changing self reacting to a changing reality. It is also important to stress the novel relationship Auerbach establishes between sentence or syntax and narrative form; and the world-wide democratic perspective in which he framed his work which has only become visible since globalization.

Mimesis Erich Auerbach Snippet view – Herein lies the reason why the great figures of the Old Testament are so much more fully developed, so much more fraught with their own biographical past, so much more distinct as individuals, than are the Homeric heroes. Mimesis is an astonishing look at the history of Western literature, remarkable not only for its discussion of nearly everything between the Odyssey and Proust, but also how he has something original to say about all of these.

For a theory book especially, this i Every essay I’ve read so far has been really interesting which is only three.

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