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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Everyone interested in narrative literature, professional or not, needs to read this book to learn to appreciate the composition of a literary text. Retrieved from ” https: 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. Yes, Mimesis is magisterial, but it is also thrilling to read, inspiring, and more relevant than ever: 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 Retrieved February 2, For example, when discussing Genesis he talks of ‘The Elohist writes’ referring t I wish I had more time and intelligence at my disposal to fully drink from Auerbach’s well.

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

AmazonGlobal Ship Orders Internationally. But the book is not easy. Fraught with their development, sometimes even aged to the verge of dissolution, they show a distinct stamp of individuality entirely foreign to the Homeric heroes.

As Auerbach notes in chapter two when discussing the New Testament:. But this process nearly always also reacts upon the frame, which requires enlarging and modifying.

Mimesis: the representation of reality in Western literature

A scene like Peter’s denial fits into no antique genre. The book is too bulky to haul around that is why I would like wextern see it in volumes.


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.

For me, as for many others, this hugely ambitious, wise account of the representation of reality in Western literature, at once a celebration and a lament, is one of the essential works of literary criticism.

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For this reason, individual chapters of the book are often read reslity. The human condition is contained within the lowest human being and not abstracted into an Mimeiss. Auerbach’s general thesis about the relationship between various literary texts and the representation of reality was now much clearer, but many details remained hidden from me due to my lack of Latin, old French, etc.

Of MimesisAuerbach wrote that his “purpose is always to write history. This mixture ultimately leads to a “popular realism” seen in the religious plays and sermons of the 12th Century.

Most critics praise his sprawling approach for its reveling in the complexities of each work and epoch without resorting to generalities and reductionism.

Still, the effort was worthwhile and Said’s introductory essay is excellent. Its pages are best taken in small bites, carefully chewed and digested — I read only ten pages a day, im that I needed to ruminate upon and assimilate those pages before I was ready for another meal. From there we go forth through the later Romans, the medieval romances and passion plays, courtly romance, Montaigne’s essays and the role of the author, Don Quixote, the 19th century Auerach, the French authors of Balzac, Stendhal, and Flaubert, and concludes with the high modernists of Joyce, Woolf, and Proust.


Mimesis is not only filled with remarkable insights on the works Auerbach chooses as exemplary of various times and traits. Page 1 of 1 Start over Page 1 of 1.

There are no longer even exotic peoples. Now older, and perhaps a little wiser, I nevertheless still found the book to be a tough read. The Princeton Sourcebook in Comparative Literature: See all 50 reviews.

Feb 25, Jackson Cyril rated it it was amazing Shelves: Want to Read Currently Reading Read. So little are the Homeric heroes presented as developing or having developed, that most of them—Nestor, Agamemnon, Achilles—appear to be of wesfern age fixed from the very first. But I think on the whole he makes a compelling case, and this work deserves 5 stars if only for its sheer breadth of ambition and imagination.

Usually at least one of the texts is in another language besides English, and many of the points he makes have to do 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. This is a deeply impressive book, and offers new ways of thinking about literature.

As you can see from all the stars I threw at it in my rating, I lean reprseentation towards the former camp. Amazon Second Chance Pass it on, trade it in, give it a second life. Jan 03, Barry rated it it was amazing.

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