Odysseus’ Scar. AUTHOR: Erich Auerbach. SOURCE: Mimesis: The Representation of Reality in Western. Literature. PUBLISHER: Princeton University Press. The Homeric Style, “Odysseus’ Scar” Erich Auerbach, Mimesis. Note, for example, that Homer can never let us be in doubt about anything involving Odysseus. By far the most frequently reprinted chapter is chapter one, “Odysseus’ Scar,” in which Auerbach compares the.

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His best-known work is Mimesis: Not known for its organization, Mimesis is almost universally respected for its penetrating insights on the particular works it addresses but is frequently criticized for what is sometimes regarded as its lack of a single overarching claim.

Conversely, what is said is always loaded with meaning, creating an effect of accumulating suspense. The history of earlier contributions by wikipedians is accessible to researchers here:.

Erich Auerbach

Exiled from Germanyhe took up residence in IstanbulTurkeywhere he wrote Mimesis: The two styles, in their opposition, represent basic types: The idea of a tragedy about an ordinary man was unthinkable to the ancient Greeks. By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. 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: It raises the possibility that history may not be as Arnold Toynbee is supposed to have odysseuz just one damn thing after another, but something with a shape and meaning, something with an underlying coherence and purpose, something scaf invites comprehension on a large scale.

Where he is actually, whether in Beersheba or elsewhere, whether indoors or in the open air, is not stated; it does not interest the narrator, the reader is not informed; and what Abraham was doing when Odysseks called to him is left in the same obscurity.

Auerbach proceeds with this comparative approach until the triumph of FlaubertBalzac and “modern realism” aeurbach.

Erich Auerbach November 9, – October 13, was a German philologist and comparative scholar and critic of literature. Written by James Ley 15 August, In the latter half of the essay, Ericj switches to a point-by-point comparison of the two works:.

He was made a Professor of Romance philology at Yale University ina position he held until his death in osysseus New World Encyclopedia writers and editors rewrote and completed the Wikipedia article in accordance with New World Encyclopedia ajerbach. The uncharacteristically fusty approach does, however, allow him to nail down one of his essential concepts. Jeruel in the land of Moriah.


We do not know. It is clear that a large part of the life of David as given in the Bible contains history and not legend.

Hegel uses the expression in his Lectures odysseu Aesthetics in one of the most beautiful passages ever written on Dante. So it is the biblical style that anticipates the modern notion of character as a layered psychological phenomenon, something that retains an element of inscrutability and is capable of developing over time.

Erich Auerbach – New World Encyclopedia

Furthermore, the two works were written for very different purposes; the Odysseyas a piece of entertainment to “make us forget our own reality for a few hours,” while the Bibleas religious doctrineto “make us fit our own life into its world. As I have repeatedly emphasised, both figures are part of the ongoing flow of historical life. Auerbach notes here the clarity and orderliness of Homer’s verse, as well as the tidy comparative, causal, and temporal relationships articulated by Homer’s precise syntactical constructions.

The parallels have often been noted; for Auerbach, it is the contrast that matters.

Contents 1 Biography 2 Mimesis: The concept of God held by the Jews is less a cause than a symptom of their manner of comprehending and representing things. For the great and sublime events in the Homeric poems take place far more exclusively and unmistakably among the members of a ruling class; and these are far more untouched in their heroic elevation than are the Old Testament figures, who can fall much lower in dignity consider, for example, Adam, Noah, David, Job ; and finally, domestic realism, the representation of daily life, remains in Homer in the peaceful realm of the ovysseus, whereas, from the very first, in the Old Testament stories, the sublime, tragic, and problematic take shape precisely in the domestic and commonplace: The King James version translates the opening as follows Genesis After this opening, God gives his command, and the story itself begins: Much that is terrible takes place in the Aauerbach poems, but it seldom takes place wordlessly: Homer ‘s Odyssey 8th century BC.

Readers of the Odyssey will remember the well-prepared and touching scene in book 19, when Odysseus has at last come home, the scene in which the old housekeeper Euryclea, who had been his nurse, recognizes him by a scar on his thigh.

Nor are we told anything of his reasons for tempting Auerach so terribly. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. The history of earlier contributions by wikipedians is auerrbach to researchers here: Eumaeus too, though he still remembers that he was born a freeman and indeed of a noble house he was stolen as a boyhas, not only in fact but also in his own feeling, no longer a life of his own, he is entirely involved in the life of his masters. In this atmosphere it is unthinkable that an implement, a landscape through which the travelers passed, the servingmen, or the ass, should be described, that their origin or descent or material or appearance or usefulness should be set forth in terms of praise; they do not even admit an adjective: Whence he comes, we do not know, hut the goal is clearly stated: For this reason, Auerbach believes the traditional allegorical or “figurative” interpretations of the Bible lose all sense of the book’s “earthy” portrayals.


Auerbach’s Odysseus’ Scar

Auerbach shared with many a war-weary European an understandable concern about the ultimate fate of his civilisation. That he had some ericb historical reasons of his own for seeking, in the teeth of facts, some sort of order from the chaos and brutality of history hardly needs emphasising. We tend to think of literary representations as creative expressions that are symptomatic of the material conditions and the auerbacch assumptions of their time — as reflections of a reality rather than something actively constitutive and generative.

The two poles of the figure are separate in time, but they both also lie within time as real events or figures. The entirely different ways of developing conflicts are enough to account for this.

There are a number of interesting aspects to this argument. It is a difficult matter, requiring careful historical and philological training, to distinguish the true from the synthetic or the biased in a historical presentation; but it is easy to separate the historical from the legendary in general.

Encoded in these contrasting narrative styles, argues Auerbach, are fundamentally different ways of representing and therefore understanding reality. There is a passage near the beginning of his auerbavh book, Dante: Truth has no bearing on the relevance of Homer’s stories, because the stories are “realistic” enough to be self-sufficient in their own copy of reality. The poor beggar Odysseus is only masquerading, but Adam is really cast down, Jacob really a refugee, Joseph really in the pit and then a slave to be bought and sold.

DeBevoise Harvard University Press,

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