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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Auerbach historicist approach largely regarded the way reality is represented in the literature of various periods to be intimately bound up with social and intellectual conventions of the time in which they were written. Of Mimesis, Auerbach wrote that his “purpose is always to write history. Auerbach’s work, like the Formalists and the New Critics, helped to change the face of literary criticismfocusing the critical endeavor on a close reading and scrutiny of texts and how they came into existence, rather than the author’s psychology or the contemporaneous historical and social issues addressed by the text.

Articles lacking in-text citations from April All articles lacking in-text citations All articles with specifically marked weasel-worded phrases Articles with specifically marked weasel-worded phrases from September Year of work missing. To be sure, the aesthetic effect thus produced was soon noticed and thereafter consciously sought; but the more original cause must have lain in the basic im-pulse of the Homeric style: Clearly outlined, brightly and uniformly illuminated, men and things stand out in a realm where everything is visible; and not less clear-wholly expressed, orderly even in their ardor–are the feelings and thoughts of the persons involved.

Erich Auerbach

The tyranny of truth: Bitter to him is the early morning in which he saddles his ass, calls his serving-men and his son Isaac, and sets out; but he obeys, he walks on until the third day, then lifts up his eyes and sees the place. Looking at it from another point of view, the Odyssey is a story very limited in the scope because of the limitations imposed by rhetoric on the ways to represent reality, whereas the Bible’s “tyrannical” claim on all truth from Creation to the Last Daysresults, ironically, in an authentic representation of human experience.

At the same time, he embraces the relativising implications of historicism, rejecting the idea that the literary work can or should be disconnected from its worldly context. After participating as a combatant in World War Ihe earned a doctorate in and inbecame a member of the philology faculty ercih the University of Marburg, publishing a well-received study entitled, Dante: By keeping the focus always on the present narrative, the “procession of phenomena” that Homer presents always remains illuminated in the foreground, even as the story itself jumps back and forth between times and locations.

The Representation of Reality in Western Literature, a history of representation in Western literature from ancient to modern times. 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 sxar, all hallmarks of the rhetorical tradition.


He was born in Berlin inthe same year as Walter Benjamin. Even where the legendary does not immediately betray itself by elements of the miraculdus, by the repetition of well-known standard motives, typical patterns and themes, through neglect of clear details of time and place, and the like, it is generally quickly recognizable by its composition.

The two works were written for very different purposes; the Odyssey, as a piece of entertainment, aims only to “make us forget our own reality for a few hours,” while the Bible, as religious doctrine, tyrannically seeks to “make us fit our own life into its world. But no less important for Erch is the implication of an entirely different conception of history. Polyphemus talks to Odysseus; Odysseus talks to the suitors when he begins to kill them; Hector and Achilles talk at length, before battle and after; and no speech is so filled with anger or scorn that the particles which express logical and grammatical connections odgsseus lacking or out of place.

This article includes a list of referencesrelated reading or external linksbut its sources remain unclear because it lacks inline citations.

For how is the Jewish concept of God to be explained? The way in which any impression of perspective is avoided can be clearly observed in the procedure for eerich episodes, a syntactical construction with which every reader of Homer is familiar; it is used in the passage we are considering, but can also be found in cases when the episodes are much shorter.

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 idyllic, whereas, from the very first, in the Old Testament stories, the sublime, tragic, and problematic take shape precisely in the domestic and commonplace: But what a road, what a fate, lie between the Jacob who cheated his father out of his blessing and the old man whose favorite son has been torn to pieces by a wild beast!

His conflation of literature and history is an expression of his fidelity to a Romantic intellectual tradition that grants an active comprehending role to the imagination. The old man, of whom we know how he has become what he is is more of an individual than the young man; for it is only during the course of an eventful life that men are differentiated into full individuality; and it is this history of a personality which the Old Testament presents to us as the formation undergone by those whom God has chosen to be examples.


There is also room and time for orderly, perfectly well-articulated, uniformly illuminated descriptions of implements, ministrations, and gestures; even in the dramatic moment of recognition, Homer does not omit to tell the reader that it is with his right hand that Odysseus takes the old woman by the throat to keep her from speaking, at the same time that he draws her closer to him with his left.

New World Encyclopedia writers and editors rewrote and completed the Wikipedia article in accordance with New World Encyclopedia standards.

Auerbach’s Odysseus’ Scar

The idea that an event might have a figural as well as a literal meaning allows history to eirch conceived as something more than a chronicle of happenings. Auerbach’s essay demonstrates how the economy of language in the Biblical account paradoxically creates a greater psychological depth. It makes our embeddedness in a historically conditioned reality the essence of whatever it might mean to be human. Providence is, then, a historical fact.

Time, History, and Literature | Erich Auerbach | Essays |

That he had some compelling 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. Conversely, what is said is always loaded with meaning, creating an effect of accumulating suspense. The image of man eclipses the image of God. In it the idea is subjected to the problematic character and desperate injustice of earthly happening.

The term “philology” describes the study of a language together with its literature and the historical and cultural contexts that are indispensable for an understanding of the literary works and other culturally significant texts.

Their structure is different.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Chaucer and Wordsworth are not mentioned even in passing.

The chronology and the remarkable breadth scxr vision are not meant to imply that Western literature has progressed in a linear fashion from naivety to sophistication. Three such days positively demand the symbolic interpretation which they later received.

Odysseus’ scar (Auerbach)

Poet of the Secular World. Some restrictions may apply to use of sdar images which are separately licensed. The Sydney Review of Books is an initiative of the Writing and Society Research Centre Our work is made possible through the support of the following organizations. In the essay, Auerbach introduces his anti-rhetorical position, a position developed further in the companion essay “Fortunata” ch.