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And not only does he convince you that he knows his way around these texts exceptionally well, but he also manages to convince you, as reader, that you are also clever enough to understand how the style and structure of these passages can be unpacked to reveal how these writers carried out their task of representing the world on paper. Everybody exists rightly where they are, including the remarkably intelligent Don Quixote except when his madness strikes him.

Mimesis. Il realismo nella letteratura occidentale : Erich Auerbach :

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. 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: As the chapters progress, he begins to make references to writers’ advancements in portraying the world, which culminates for him in the post-realist works of Woolf.

That opens him up to accusations that he simply cherry-picked relaismo examples to suit his case, and that’s a fair point and one that Auerbach is explicitly acknowledges. I am so glad that I discovered the book and took the time and occidenfale to immerse myself in it. This was why I read Mimesis. It is not clear that all editions included the translations. This book is deservedly a classic of mimseis kind.


The idea put forth by Auerbach is that literature is an imitation of the contemporary society from which it was spawned. Auerbach’s main theme is the issue of how reality is represented in literature, particularly how a relatively strict separation of styles and classes gave way in slips and bursts towards a more modern sense of realism in which everyday accidentals could be imbued with tragic weight.

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 Edward Said’s introduction is also very good; auerbahc places EA and his work in context and discusses the immense influence this book has had.

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.

No shyness to name low things amidst high tragedy; all depictions are vividly validated. That’s a summary that really doesn’t do justice to the work, which is just bursting at the seams with ideas and observations. Apr 22, Katie rated it it was amazing Shelves: Oct 12, Justin Lau rated it really liked it. Amazon Kindle 0 editions.

He left for Turkey, where he taught at the state university in Istanbul.

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

Auerbach, a German philologist fired by the Nazis for being a Jew, in exile in an Istanbul library as European civilization destroyed itself — re-imagining the literature that had given it birth.

This is one of the epics of lit crit, and another of those books that I used excerpts from as a student and have been meaning to read in full ever minesis. This essentially optimistic view of European history now appears as a defensive–and impassioned–response to the inhumanity he saw in the Third Reich.

Had we but world enough and time He moves on to medieval epics from France and Germany, touching upon French romance poetry as well, before arriving at the works of Dante and Boccaccio. The most striking insight is his revelation of how large a part religion and metaphysical thinking has played a part in literature, for certain doctrinal concepts and spiritual attitudes had significant effects on the ways in which writers depicted reality.


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. I’ve enjoyed the first one “Odysseus’s Scar” the most. The Old Testament, on the rsalismo hand, presents universal history: This was somewhat over my head.

Mimesis: The Representation of Reality in Western Literature

The strata of societies and occidentake different ways of life have become inextricably mingled. This becomes increasingly difficult the further our historical environment is removed from that of the Biblical books; and if these nevertheless maintain their claim to absolute authority, it is inevitable that they themselves rexlismo adapted through interpretative transformation.

The part on Odysseus’s scar is legendary occirentale the pun. Mimesis is something we must get beyond in order to experience or attain the “real. A biggun’ in literary criticism. Still, none of this really detracts from the great value of his work. For a theory book especially, this i Every essay I’ve read so far has been really interesting which is only three.

For a theory book especially, this is quite clear and illuminating. Each of the great figures of the Old Testament, from Adam to the prophets, embodies a moment of this vertical connection.