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Mimesis: The Representation of Reality in Western Literature [Englisch] [Taschenbuch]

Erich Auerbach , Willard R. Trask
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Kurzbeschreibung

31. Dezember 1953
A half-century after its translation into English, Erich Auerbach's "Mimesis" still stands as a monumental achievement in literary criticism. 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. 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.A German Jew, Auerbach was forced out of his professorship at the University of Marburg in 1935. He left for Turkey, where he taught at the state university in Istanbul. There he wrote "Mimesis," publishing it in German after the end of the war. 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. His aim was to show how from antiquity to the twentieth century literature progressed toward ever more naturalistic and democratic forms of representation. This essentially optimistic view of European history now appears as a defensive--and impassioned--response to the inhumanity he saw in the Third Reich. Ranging over works in Greek, Latin, Spanish, French, Italian, German, and English, Auerbach used his remarkable skills in philology and comparative literature to refute any narrow form of nationalism or chauvinism, in his own day and ours. For many readers, both inside and outside the academy, "Mimesis" is among the finest works of literary criticism ever written.

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Produktinformation

  • Taschenbuch: 563 Seiten
  • Verlag: Princeton University Press; Auflage: New impression (31. Dezember 1953)
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ISBN-10: 0691012695
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691012698
  • Größe und/oder Gewicht: 22,9 x 15,5 x 3 cm
  • Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 4.7 von 5 Sternen  Alle Rezensionen anzeigen (3 Kundenrezensionen)
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 434.514 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)

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Produktbeschreibungen

Pressestimmen

"The compass and the richness of the book can hardly be exaggerated. This is true too of the originality of Mr. Auerbach's critical method which is at once encyclopedic and microscopic, combining the disciplines of philology, literary criticism, and history."--"The New York Times"

Synopsis

A half-century after its translation into English, Erich Auerbach's "Mimesis" still stands as a monumental achievement in literary criticism. 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. 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. A German Jew, Auerbach was forced out of his professorship at the University of Marburg in 1935. He left for Turkey, where he taught at the state university in Istanbul. There, he wrote "Mimesis", publishing it in German after the end of the war. 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. His aim was to show how, from antiquity to the twentieth century, literature progressed toward ever more naturalistic and democratic forms of representation.

This essentially optimistic view of European history now appears as a defensive - and impassioned - response to the inhumanity he saw in the Third Reich. Ranging over works in Greek, Latin, Spanish, French, Italian, German, and English, Auerbach used his remarkable skills in philology and comparative literature to refute any narrow form of nationalism or chauvinism, in his own day and ours. For many readers, both inside and outside the academy, "Mimesis" is among the finest works of literary criticism ever written. -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine andere Ausgabe: Taschenbuch .


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Von mholesh
Format:Taschenbuch
In the 30 odd years since I read this book it has never been far from my thoughts. It has changed my understanding of how people think and how they look at their world. I cannot do true justice its impact.
We are apt to think that people are the same wherever and whenever they lived. This is probably a legacy of our democratic, universalistic heritage. It is also what gets us in trouble when we get involved abroad in changing other nations and their societies. Auerbach shows us that humankind is not and has not been alike in its thoughts, aspirations and character but has distinctly changed and varied over time and place.
By closely reading, analyzing and comparing texts of different periods through time, the author demonstrates how the structure of language interacts with the structure of thought, how the way one writes delimits ones vision. This is a more radical thought than its converse that the way we think affects how we write. To Auerbach, an early medieval religious writer, because of the way that Late Latin worked, could not think the way a classical author could. This seems intuitively wrong to a person who has knowledge of one language, but if you have ever tried to translate anything beyond the simplest sentence, you can appreciate what Auerbach means. This is one of those books that stay with you for a lifetime.
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4.0 von 5 Sternen Makes you think--expand your horizons 2. Mai 1999
Von Ein Kunde
Format:Taschenbuch
From the look of it, one would expect this to be a dull, dry, academic book, but it's really a lot of fun. Auerbach quotes extensively from the books you probably always meant to read and uses them in a meaningful and entertaining way. His point is that over the last three thousand years or so, the West has changed the ways in which it views reality--and that the "modern" viewpoint is not necessarily the only way in which the world can be presented. Good book!
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5.0 von 5 Sternen A brilliant and archetypal look at literature 4. November 1998
Format:Taschenbuch
Altho published in the 50's, the chapters on genesis, and his (refreshing) "construction" of how Western literature changed with uderlying philosophical assumtions is a classic. The best is his technique of using examples, from the bible to Shakespear, which perfectly demonstrates his theory. The book is deep but not difficult to read. His style is conversive and the theoretical concept is nailed down with passages from literary works. I highly reccomend it, especially the first 4 chapters, for anyone who wants to connect and see a synthesis of western classics they've read.
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146 von 151 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen An Indelible Interpretation of How People See Their World 14. Juni 2000
Von mholesh - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Taschenbuch
In the 30 odd years since I read this book it has never been far from my thoughts. It has changed my understanding of how people think and how they look at their world. I cannot do true justice its impact.
We are apt to think that people are the same wherever and whenever they lived. This is probably a legacy of our democratic, universalistic heritage. It is also what gets us in trouble when we get involved abroad in changing other nations and their societies. Auerbach shows us that humankind is not and has not been alike in its thoughts, aspirations and character but has distinctly changed and varied over time and place.
By closely reading, analyzing and comparing texts of different periods through time, the author demonstrates how the structure of language interacts with the structure of thought, how the way one writes delimits ones vision. This is a more radical thought than its converse that the way we think affects how we write. To Auerbach, an early medieval religious writer, because of the way that Late Latin worked, could not think the way a classical author could. This seems intuitively wrong to a person who has knowledge of one language, but if you have ever tried to translate anything beyond the simplest sentence, you can appreciate what Auerbach means. This is one of those books that stay with you for a lifetime.
75 von 81 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen You simply cannot be a literary critic without reading this 3. September 2003
Von F. P. Barbieri - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Taschenbuch
To paraphrase JOhn Lennon: evereybody's talking about Marxism and Modernism, Structuralism and sociologism, this-ism and that-ism; all I am saying, is give the narrative a chance. That is really what this greatest critic of all time - a man who is to literary criticism what Beethoven is to music, or Tocqueville to history, or Shakespeare to English poetry - ever did. Only he armed himselv with such a broad and wide-ranging array of different interpretative approaches, that he was always able to extract more, and more diverse, meanings, from any significant passage; and that not by illegitimately stretching the content to cover areas the writer had never conceived of, but simply by bringing out what already was there. His account of a passage in Ammianus Marcellinus, for instance, ought to be read by every historian of the late Roman Empire to understand what really was happening to that ancient civilization in the fourth century; as should his reading of a short story by Boccaccio (together, I would say, with Chesterton's magnificent essay on Chaucer) to understand the spirit that was awakening at the height of the Middle Ages. And this book is just as broad as it is sharp; just as it manages to pierce to the very heart of a single well-chosen subject, so too it covers the most extraordinary range of subjects, from the beginning of our culture (Homer and the book of Genesis) to high modernity (Proust), from the obscure (a stunning review of a bloody sixth-century anecdote by Gregory bishop of Tours) to the famous (Shakespeare). It is the finest book of literary criticism and history ever written, not only on account of its keen penetration and insight, but also of its enormous and wide-ranging learning, that allows the reader access to almost every century and every area of our Western heritage.
54 von 59 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Representing Reality 27. Dezember 2001
Von Bill Engel - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Taschenbuch
Beginning with episodes in Homer and the Bible, this amazing study concludes by analyzing passages in Woolf and Proust. To echo Rene Wellek's assessment: it is a book of such scope and depth....it combines so many methods so skillfully, it raises so many questions of theory, history and criticism, it displays so much erudition, insight and wisdom.... I returned to this book after being out of graduate school for twenty years (where it was already out of fashion in most English departments but read with care by all students of Comparative literature), and it is so much better this time around. The essay on Fortuna continues to resonate with timely warnings, and what I once admired about "Odysseus' Scar" is even more luminous after my recent rereading of the book.
28 von 29 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen A brilliant and archetypal look at literature 4. November 1998
Von mark a woodruff - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Taschenbuch
Altho published in the 50's, the chapters on genesis, and his (refreshing) "construction" of how Western literature changed with uderlying philosophical assumtions is a classic. The best is his technique of using examples, from the bible to Shakespear, which perfectly demonstrates his theory. The book is deep but not difficult to read. His style is conversive and the theoretical concept is nailed down with passages from literary works. I highly reccomend it, especially the first 4 chapters, for anyone who wants to connect and see a synthesis of western classics they've read.
17 von 19 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen The history of how Reality is presented in Western Literature 18. Juni 2006
Von Shalom Freedman - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Taschenbuch
'Mimesis' is arguably the most important piece of Literary Criticism written in the twentieth century. Auerbach's opening chapter 'Odysseus Scar' in which he compares Chapter 19 of the 'Odyssey' with the Akeda , Chapter 22.1 of Genesis is the foundation from which he goes on to read the whole history of Representation in Western Literature. In that first chapter he contrasts the clearness and descriptive richness, the surface brilliance of the 'Odyssey' with the enigmatic, fragmented, deep- backgrounded mysterious narrative of 'Genesis'. These two basic 'Western' texts are used to provide a reading of the theory of representation in Western literature that spans its whole historical span.

"Revealing the system of conventions that produce "a lifelike illusion of some 'real' world outside the text by processes of selection, exclusion, description, and manners of addressing the reader," Auerbach sets up conclusions about how literature, the world, and literature's place in the world were understood in each work and historical period." ( Wikipedia)

Auerbach reads from the Bible and Odysseus through the great works of Western Literature down to the masterworks of his own day.

He wrote this book in Istanbul when in exile from Nazi Germany. He lacked many of the sources he might have used, and thus concentrated more on providing a close reading of the great works he discusses.
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