Erich Auerbach

Erich Auerbach

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Erich Auerbach was a philologist
Philology
Philology is the study of language in written historical sources; it is a combination of literary studies, history and linguistics.Classical philology is the philology of Greek and Classical Latin...

 and comparative scholar
Comparative literature
Comparative literature is an academic field dealing with the literature of two or more different linguistic, cultural or national groups...

 and critic of literature
Literature
Literature is the art of written works, and is not bound to published sources...

. His best-known work is Mimesis: The Representation of Reality in Western Literature
Mimesis: The Representation of Reality in Western Literature
Mimesis: The Representation of Reality in Western Literature is a book of literary criticism by Erich Auerbach, and his most well known work. Written while Auerbach was teaching in Istanbul, Turkey, where he fled after being ousted from his professorship in Romance Philology at the University of...

, a history of representation in Western literature from ancient to modern times.

Biography


Auerbach, who was Jewish, was born in Berlin
Berlin
Berlin is the capital city of Germany and is one of the 16 states of Germany. With a population of 3.45 million people, Berlin is Germany's largest city. It is the second most populous city proper and the seventh most populous urban area in the European Union...

. He was trained in the German philological
Philology
Philology is the study of language in written historical sources; it is a combination of literary studies, history and linguistics.Classical philology is the philology of Greek and Classical Latin...

 tradition and would eventually become, along with Leo Spitzer
Leo Spitzer
Leo Spitzer was an Austrian Romanist and Hispanist, and an influential and prolific literary critic. He was known for his emphasis on stylistics....

, one of its best-known scholars.http://books.google.com/books?id=U8VpxmzH3LsC&pg=PR13&dq=%22Erich+Auerbach%22+jewish&hl=en&ei=VVJHTtLyOurs0gGomtTzBw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CCoQ6AEwAA After participating as combatant in World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

, he earned a doctorate
Doctorate
A doctorate is an academic degree or professional degree that in most countries refers to a class of degrees which qualify the holder to teach in a specific field, A doctorate is an academic degree or professional degree that in most countries refers to a class of degrees which qualify the holder...

 in 1921 at University of Greifswald 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
Nazism
Nazism, the common short form name of National Socialism was the ideology and practice of the Nazi Party and of Nazi Germany...

, however, Auerbach was forced to vacate his position in 1935. Exiled from Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

, he took up residence in Istanbul
Istanbul
Istanbul , historically known as Byzantium and Constantinople , is the largest city of Turkey. Istanbul metropolitan province had 13.26 million people living in it as of December, 2010, which is 18% of Turkey's population and the 3rd largest metropolitan area in Europe after London and...

, Turkey
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

, where he wrote Mimesis: The Representation of Reality in Western Literature (1946), generally considered his masterwork.

He moved to the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 in 1947, teaching at Pennsylvania State University
Pennsylvania State University
The Pennsylvania State University, commonly referred to as Penn State or PSU, is a public research university with campuses and facilities throughout the state of Pennsylvania, United States. Founded in 1855, the university has a threefold mission of teaching, research, and public service...

 and then working at the Institute for Advanced Study
Institute for Advanced Study
The Institute for Advanced Study, located in Princeton, New Jersey, United States, is an independent postgraduate center for theoretical research and intellectual inquiry. It was founded in 1930 by Abraham Flexner...

. He was made a Professor
Professor
A professor is a scholarly teacher; the precise meaning of the term varies by country. Literally, professor derives from Latin as a "person who professes" being usually an expert in arts or sciences; a teacher of high rank...

 of Romance philology at Yale University
Yale University
Yale University is a private, Ivy League university located in New Haven, Connecticut, United States. Founded in 1701 in the Colony of Connecticut, the university is the third-oldest institution of higher education in the United States...

 in 1950, a position he held until his death in 1957 in Wallingford, Connecticut
Wallingford, Connecticut
Wallingford is a town in New Haven County, Connecticut, United States. The population was 43,026 at the 2000 census.- History :Wallingford was established on October 10, 1667, when the Connecticut General Assembly authorized the "making of a village on the east river" to 38 planters and freemen...

. While at Yale he supervised Fredric Jameson
Fredric Jameson
Fredric Jameson is an American literary critic and Marxist political theorist. He is best known for his analysis of contemporary cultural trends—he once described postmodernism as the spatialization of culture under the pressure of organized capitalism...

's doctoral work.

Works

  • Roman Filolojisine Giris Istanbul Universitesi Edebiyat Fakultesi: Horoz Yayinevi, 1944.
  • Dante: Poet of the Secular World Trans. Ralph Manheim. New York: NYRB Classics, 2007. ISBN 978-1590172193.
  • Auerbach, Erich. Mimesis: The Representation of Reality in Western Literature. Fiftieth Anniversary Ed. Trans. Willard Trask. Princeton: Princeton University Press
    Princeton University Press
    -Further reading:* "". Artforum International, 2005.-External links:* * * * *...

    , 2003.
  • Literary Language and Its Public in Late Latin Antiquity and in the Middle Ages. Trans. Ralph Manheim. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1993. ISBN 978-0691024684.

External links