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Preview — Mimesis by Erich Auerbach. Auerbach seems to be arguing for the latter. His commitment to reading closely for the details that shine is something all too lost in most of today’s quickreads. Goethe and Schiller are brought in only to be hauled over the coals for being too conservative, and most other 19th century German writers are dismissed as too provincial.

A biggun’ in literary criticism. 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.

Dante’s Comedy is particularly relismo for Auerbach in this argument. Such a problematic psychological situation as this is impossible for any of the Homeric heroes, whose destiny is clearly defined and who wake every morning as if it were the first day of their lives: And mumesis it contribute to bringing together again those whose love for our letteratuea history has serenely persevered.

Modern realism takes longer to get going, needing to proceed through a labyrinth of expressions from Shakespeare’s limited mixing of styles to neo-classicism in the 18th century, and leading to the birth of modern realism in the Romantic movement.

Aug 11, Parke rated it it was amazing. I’ve read only first two chapters for an exam. Mimesis is not only filled with remarkable insights on the works Auerbach chooses as exemplary of various times and traits. The first chapter, Odysseus’ scar, is still used by classicists today. For many readers, both inside and outside the academy, “Mimesis” is among the finest works of literary criticism ever written.

Every essay I’ve read so far has been really interesting which is only three. Perhaps if I were smarter, younger, spoke at least ten languages, or all of the above?

The title, Mimesis, is very insightful just by itself. The book doesn’t so much lay out a theory of literary criticism, but instead provides examples of how Auerbach reads and thinks about reading.


But, it seems to me he could have easily said ‘The author seeks to. Its pages are best taken in small bites, carefully chewed and digested — I read only ten pages a day, finding that I needed to ruminate upon and assimilate those pages before I was ready for another meal. 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 dissevered from them, becomes a disembodied image.

This book is deservedly a classic of its kind. Readers of the Odyssey will remember the well-prepared and touching scene in book 19, when Odysseus has at last come home, the scene in which the old housekeeper Euryclea, who had been his nurse, recognizes him by a scar on his thigh.

He stays very close to the text of every work he selects, so you won’t get lost in jargon or citations. 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 to read Western literature.

What’s really wonderful about the case studies is the way that he manages to approach each of the texts he examines with a degree of assurance, knowledge and affection that would normally be enough to convince any reader that it could only come from someone who has spent his entire career studying just that period and that author in particular.

Everyone who’s looked at ch. Feb 25, Jackson Cyril rated it it was amazing Shelves: The greater the separateness and horizontal disconnection of the stories and groups of stories in relation to one another, compared with the Iliad and the Odyssey, the stronger is their general vertical connection, which holds them all together and which is entirely lacking in Homer.

Auerbach also makes an effort to don the authors’ conceptual lenses when he examines the ethics invoked, or what is visible and invisible to the author, for instance. For more help see the Common Knowledge help page. Auerbach’s book is a series of discussions about discrete works, progressing from Homer to Virginia Woolf.

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you’ll like this book. How did he come to leave out Chaucer and Sterne, for instance? Amazon Kindle 0 editions. He published several books and many papers on DanteMedieval Latin literature, methods of historical criticism, and the influence of Christian symbolism on literature.


Mimesis: The Representation of Reality in Western Literature

It is not therefore a multi-layered telling as is common in modern fiction but a simple movement on a linear surface line. So little are auerbqch Homeric heroes presented as developing or having developed, that most of them—Nestor, Agamemnon, Achilles—appear to be of an age fixed from the very first.

He is best known for Mimesisa volume on literary criticism written in Turkey, first published in Berne, Switzerland inand subsequently widely mimessis. 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 letterautra, 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” Best lefteratura World Literature Each of the great figures of the Old Testament, from Adam to the prophets, embodies a moment of this vertical connection.

His close attention 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.

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

See the other authors section. Far from seeking, like Homer, merely to make us forget our own reality for a few hours, it seeks to overcome our reality: We read a chapter a month basically and also read whichever book went along with that chapter. 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.

View all 10 comments. This man loved books and so he ingested them for future reference. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.