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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On the most basic level, is my desire to imitate Jennifer Aniston’s clothes repfesentation I should get beyond to find my own style, or is my Aniston-mimesis a fundamental expression of my human experience as a person living within an aging society. Auerbach champions writers during periods under the sway of rhetorical forms of writing like Gregory of Tours and St.

Mimesis: The Representation of Reality in Western Literature by Erich Auerbach

I should really give it another try. Each chapter benefits from close readings of the texts, and extensive quotations in the original language. This book is encompassing and mind-bending in that specifically unique way that will make some people revere it like a religious text and will drive other people absolutely nuts.

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 the interested reader I would suggest beginning with Fleeing the Nazis inthe noted German philologist and scholar of comparative literature and criticism Erick Auerbach settled in Istanbul where, without access to his extensive library, he wrote Mimesis — The Representation of Reality in Western Literaturea prime example of what subsequent scholars have come to call historicism.

Edizione PBE del This leads almost inevitably to Flaubert, Balzac, and Goncourt, which then brings the text at last to the English modernists. For they are bearers of the divine will, and yet they are fallible, subject to misfortune and humiliation—and in the midst of misfortune and in their humiliation their acts and words reveal the transcendent majesty of God.

One of my all-time favorite books–read it first over 50 years ago and had worn out my copy. Shakespearean tragedy is distinct from Greek tragedy on two counts: What’s more, I can’t imagine that anything like it will ever be written again. As Auerbach notes in chapter two when discussing the New Testament:.

It’s an undeniably dense book, but one that can be understood even if you’re not familiar with literary theory I’m definitely not and even if you haven’t read all the works he spotlights. It’s the only preface I know of that I wish were longer, serving as both an analysis of Auerbach and a ramework placing him in his scholarly and historical context. His commitment to reading closely for the details that shine is something all too lost in most of today’s quickreads.


The idea put forth by Auerbach is that literature is an imitation of the contemporary society from which it was spawned. Selected pages Title Page.

Maybe the most impressive work of literary criticism ever written, not least because of the circumstances under which it was composed: Written while on the run from the NSDAP and without his library though not without a library, as folk history has ithas as its purpose tracing the “complete emancipation” from the doctrine of the ancients regarding literary representation, one which is “more complete, and more significant for later literary forms of the imitation of life, than the mixture of le sublime and le grotesque proclaimed by the contemporary romanticists” Princeton’s 50th anniversary edition of Mimesis has an introduction by the late literary and cultural critic Edward Said that by itself is worth the price of the book.

I don’t think a more significant or useful book of criticism has been mimseis in the half-century since Mimesis was published.

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.

Explore the Home Gift Guide. The first chapter is mind-bending, in the better sense again. Auerbach clearly knows loads of stuff about loads of things, and he brings all of it to work for him here – the work covers a solid 3, years of literary history but never feels too diffuse.

Mimesis: the representation of reality in Western literature

Open Preview See a Problem? For someone like me who takes the more traditional view, it produces a jolt of sorts. 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: For a theory book especially, this is quite clear and illuminating.

There he wrote Mimesis, publishing it in German after the end of the war. That’s a summary that really doesn’t do justice to the work, which is just bursting at the seams with ideas and observations.

Mimesis: the representation of reality in Western literature

Mimesis is not only filled with remarkable insights on the works Auerbach chooses as exe A sampling of the progress of realism in literature from The Odyssey to Virginia Woolf’s To The Lighthouse. He left for Turkey, where he taught at the state university in Istanbul.


Customers who viewed this item also repersentation. Edward Said’s introduction is also very good; he pla Not only a monument of literary criticism, but one of the most thrilling adventures of the mind, ever– EA traces the development of the “representation of reality” from Homer and the Old Testament to twentieth century writers.

The author, beginning with Homer and the Bible, traces the imitation of life in literature through the ages. I also found some of Auerbach’s interpretations to be highly speculative. Not only a monument of literary criticism, but one of the most thrilling adventures of the mind, ever– EA traces the development of the “representation of reality” from Homer and the Old Testament to twentieth century writers.

German philologist Erich Auerbach served as professor of Romance philology at Marburg Universitytaught at the Turkish State University in Istanbuland became professor of French and Romance philology at Yale University in Rabelais’ reflection of our world provided by the depiction and commentary of a superior world, which is functionally identical except for the fact that it is aware of ours while ours is ignorant of it.

I am so glad that I discovered the book and took the time and effort to immerse myself in it. The title, Mimesis, is very insightful just by itself. What he [the writer of the Old Testament] produced then, was not primarily oriented towards “realism” if he succeeded in being realistic, it was merely a means, not an end: From these two seminal Western texts, Auerbach builds the foundation for a unified theory of representation that spans the entire history of Western literature, including even the Modernist novelists writing at the time Auerbach began his study.

But this process nearly always also reacts upon the frame, which requires enlarging and modifying. He is in the same German tradition of philology as Ernst CurtiusLeo Spitzerand Karl Vosslerhaving a mastery of many languages and epochs and all-inclusive in its approach, incorporating just about any intellectual endeavor into the discipline of literary criticism.

Far from seeking, like Homer, merely to make us forget our own reality for a few hours, it seeks to overcome our reality: Each of the great figures of the Old Testament, from Adam to the prophets, embodies a moment of this vertical connection. This thing blew my mind.