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Erich Auerbach

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Name  Erich Auerbach

Role  Literary critic
Erich Auerbach Historicism Humanism and Figural Causation Reading

Occupation  Literary critic, Philologist
Notable works  Mimesis: The Representation of Reality in Western Literature
Died  October 13, 1957, Wallingford, Connecticut, United States
Books  Mimesis: The Represen, Time - History - and Liter, Scenes from the drama of, Dante - Poet of the Secular, Literary Language & Its Publi
Similar People  Edward Said, Giambattista Vico, Fredric Jameson, James I Porter, Walter Benjamin

Christian existentialism and a jewish life the worlds of erich auerbach

Erich Auerbach (November 9, 1892 – October 13, 1957) was a German philologist and comparative scholar and critic of literature. His best-known work is Mimesis: The Representation of Reality in Western Literature, a history of representation in Western literature from ancient to modern times and frequently cited as a classic in the study of realism in literature.


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Erich Auerbach's Mimesis | Biography and Methodology | Literary Theory


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Auerbach, who was Jewish and born in Berlin, was trained in the German philological tradition and would eventually become, along with Leo Spitzer, one of its best-known scholars. After participating as a combatant in World War I, he earned a doctorate in 1921 at University of Greifswald, served as librarian at the Prussian State Library for some years, and in 1929 became a member of the philology faculty at the University of Marburg, publishing a well-received study entitled Dante: Poet of the Secular World.


With the rise of National Socialism Auerbach was forced to vacate his position in 1935. Exiled from Nazi Germany, he took up residence in Istanbul, Turkey, where he wrote Mimesis: The Representation of Reality in Western Literature (1946), generally considered his masterwork. Auerbach's life and work in Turkey is detailed and placed in historical and sociological context by Kader Konuk, East West Mimesis: Auerbach in Turkey (2010).

Erich Auerbach Time History and Literature 3AM Magazine

He moved to the United States in 1947, teaching at Pennsylvania State University and then working at the Institute for Advanced Study. He was appointed professor of Romance philology at Yale University in 1950, a position he held until his death in 1957 in Wallingford, Connecticut.

While at Yale, Auerbach supervised Fredric Jameson's doctoral work.


In the fifty year commemoration reprinting of Auerbach's Mimesis, Edward Said of Columbia University included an extended introduction to Auerbach and mentioned the book's debt to Giambattista Vico stating: "As one can immediately judge by its subtitle, Auerbach's book is by far the largest in scope and ambition out of all the other important critical works of the past half century. Its range covers literary masterpiences from Homer and the Old Testament right through to Virginia Woolf and Marcel Proust, although as Auerbach says apologetically at the end of the book, for reasons of space he had to leave out a great deal of medieval literature as well as some crucial modern writiers like Pascal and Baudelaire."


  • Auerbach, Erich. Roman Filolojisine Giris Istanbul Universitesi Edebiyat Fakultesi: Horoz Yayinevi, 1944.
  • Auerbach, Erich. Scenes from the Drama of European Literature. New York: Meridian, 1959. Republished 1984 by Manchester University Press. ISBN 0-7190-1457-3.
  • Auerbach, Erich. Dante: Poet of the Secular World Trans. Ralph Manheim. New York: NYRB Classics, 2007. ISBN 978-1-59017-219-3.
  • Auerbach, Erich. Mimesis: The Representation of Reality in Western Literature. Fiftieth Anniversary Ed. Trans. Willard Trask. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2003.
  • Auerbach, Erich. Literary Language and Its Public in Late Latin Antiquity and in the Middle Ages. Trans. Ralph Manheim. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1993. ISBN 978-0-691-02468-4.
  • Auerbach, Erich. Time, History, and Literature: Selected Essays of Erich Auerbach. Ed. James I. Porter. Trans. Jane O. Newman. Princeton University Press, 2013. ISBN 978-0-691-13711-7.
  • References

    Erich Auerbach Wikipedia