Download Mimesis: The Representation of Reality in Western Literature by Edward W. Said, Erich Auerbach PDF

By Edward W. Said, Erich Auerbach

Greater than part a century after its translation into English, Erich Auerbach's Mimesis is still a masterpiece of literary feedback. an excellent show of erudition, wit, and knowledge, his exploration of ways nice ecu writers from Homer to Virginia Woolf depicted fact has taught generations how you can learn Western literature. This new increased variation encompasses a large essay in advent through Edward acknowledged in addition to an essay, by no means earlier than translated into English, within which Auerbach responds to his critics.

A German Jew, Auerbach used to be pressured out of his professorship on the college of Marburg in 1935. He left for Turkey, the place he taught on the nation college in Istanbul. There he wrote Mimesis, publishing it in German after the top of the warfare. Displaced as he was once, Auerbach produced a piece of serious erudition that comprises no footnotes, basing his arguments as an alternative on looking, illuminating readings of key passages from his fundamental texts. His goal used to be to teach how from antiquity to the 20 th century literature improved towards ever extra naturalistic and democratic different types of illustration. This basically confident view of ecu background now looks as a defensive--and impassioned--response to the inhumanity he observed within the 3rd Reich. Ranging over works in Greek, Latin, Spanish, French, Italian, German, and English, Auerbach used his extraordinary abilities in philology and comparative literature to refute any slender kind of nationalism or chauvinism, in his personal day and ours.

For many readers, either in and out the academy, Mimesis is without doubt one of the most interesting works of literary feedback ever written. This Princeton Classics version encompasses a vast creation via Edward acknowledged in addition to an essay during which Auerbach responds to his critics.

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Additional resources for Mimesis: The Representation of Reality in Western Literature

Sample text

The reader, however, knows that they are not normally to be found together in one place on earth, that one of them, God, in order to speak to Abraham, must come from somewhere, must enter the earthly realm from some unknown heights or depths. Whence does he come, whence does he call to Abraham? We are not told. He does not come, like Zeus or Poseidon, from the Aethiopians, where he has been enjoying a sacrificial feast. Nor are we told anything of his reasons for tempting Abraham so terribly. He has not, like Zeus, discussed them in set speeches with other gods gathered in council; nor have the deliberations in his own heart been presented to us; unexpected and mysterious, he enters the scene from some unknown height or depth and calls: Abraham!

The stranger has won Penelope's good will; at his request she tells the housekeeper to wash his feet, which, in all old stories, is the first duty of hospitality toward a tired traveler. Euryclea busies herself fetching water and mixing cold with hot, meanwhile speaking sadly of her absent master, who is probably of the same age as the guest, and who perhaps, like the guest, is even now wandering somewhere, a stranger; and she remarks how astonishingly like him the guest looks. Meanwhile Odysseus, remembering his scar, moves back out of the light; he knows that, despite his efforts to hide his identity, Euryclea will now recognize him, but he wants at least to keep Penelope in ignorance.

No sooner has the old woman touched the scar than, in her joyous surprise, she lets Odysseus' foot drop into the basin; the water spills over, she is about to cry out her joy; Odysseus restrains her with whispered threats and endearments; she recovers herself and conceals her emotion. Penelope, whose attention Athena's foresight had diverted from the incident, has observed nothing. All this is scrupulously externalized and narrated in leisurely fashion. The two women express their feelings in copious direct discourse.

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