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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It was then mostly incomprehensible to me. Mmimesis 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 to read Western literature. Continuing, Auerbach uses an exploration of Rabelais to develop his theme, then turning to Montaigne, Shakespeare, and Cervantes.
If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support? 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. For many readers, both inside and outside the academy, Mimesis is among the finest works of literary criticism ever written.
No such thing as flashbacks in the characters’ minds; the narrator leaves aside representatiom present narrative to tell a past narrative.
The author, beginning with Homer and the Bible, traces the imitation of life in literature through the ages. Not to neglect the Germans, he discusses the works of Schiller before returning to France and Stendhal.
Mimesis: the representation of reality in Western literature
We are ever foregrounded in the present. Feb 27, Haengbok92 rated it it was amazing Shelves: Oct 12, Justin Lau rated it really liked it. This summary suggests more of a romp than this long, carefully crafted, deep and thoughtful book actually represents.
Displaced as he was, Auerbach produced a work of great erudition that contains no footnotes, basing his arguments instead on searching, illuminating readings of key passages from his primary texts.
Far from seeking, like Homer, merely to make us forget our own reality for a few hours, it seeks to overcome our reality: The idea put forth by Auerbach is that literature is an imitation of the contemporary society from which it was spawned. Retrieved from ” https: A biggun’ in literary criticism. Humiliation and elevation go far deeper and far higher than in Homer, and they belong basically together. Beneath the conflicts, and also through them, an economic and cultural leveling process is taking place.
The protagonist’s feelings, mental agility, ability to think beyond the foreground is all very well “painted” in the literature itself.
Mimesis: The Representation of Reality in Western Literature by Erich Auerbach
This book is particularly enjoyable as an academic work that is not laden with footnotes and unnecessary references to secondary material. I first read this work as an undergraduate over 50 years ago in a European classics lit. AmazonGlobal Ship Orders Internationally. This, however, did not immediately lead to a modern sense of realistic representation, predominantly because Christianity also brought with it the concept of figuralism – the idea that every little detail to be represented stands not only for itself, but something in the future and the past, all the realit to tie together universal history in a Christian framework.
History of the Franks by Gregory of Tours. 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: Erich AuerbachEdward W.
He moves on to medieval epics from France and Wwstern, touching upon French romance poetry as well, before arriving at the works of Dante and Boccaccio. There he wrote Mimesis, publishing it in German after the end of the war.
Yes, Mimesis is magisterial, but it is also thrilling to read, inspiring, and more relevant than ever: That’s a summary that really doesn’t do justice to the work, which is just bursting at the seams with ideas and observations. The Old Testament, on the other hand, presents universal history: 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.
Everything else that happens in the world can only be conceived as an element in this sequence; into represwntation everything that is known about the world, or at least everything that touches upon the history of the Jews, must be thw as an ingredient of the divine plan; and as this too became possible only by interpreting the new material as it poured in, the need for interpretation reaches out beyond the original Jewish-Israelitish realm of reality—for example to Assyrian, Babylonian, Persian, and Roman history; interpretation in a determined direction becomes auerbacch general method of comprehending reality; the new and strange world which now comes into view and which, in the form in which it presents itself, proves to be wholly unutilizable within the Jewish religious frame, must be so interpreted that it can find a place there.
If certain elements survived which did not immediately fit in, interpretation took care of them; and so the reader is at every moment aware of the universal religio-historical perspective which gives the individual rrepresentation their general meaning and purpose.
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God chose and formed these men to the end of embody ing his essence and will—yet choice and formation do not coincide, for the latter proceeds gradually, historically, during the earthly life of him upon whom the choice has fallen.