Mimesis by Erich Auerbach

A half-century after its translation into English, Erich Auerbach’s (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erich_AuerbachMimesis (originally published 1946) 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.

Auerbach’s 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.

Erich Auerbach

 616 pages in Princeton University Press paperback edition

ISBN 978-0691113364

Scroll to Top