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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The elliptical Old Testament stories, on the other hand, open up interpretive spaces that admit figurative readings.

Auerbach’s Odysseus’ Scar

Keep up with the SRB. This page was last edited on 12 Aprilat He travels for three days to the place where he is to kill his son, but details of the journey and his state of mind are absent. Each of the great figures of the Old Testament, from Adam to the prophets, embodies a odysseis of this vertical connection. The Representation of Reality in Western Literature, generally considered his masterwork.

A consideration of the Elohistic text teaches us that our term is capable of a broader and deeper application. The Representation of Reality in Western Literaturetrans.

He is in the same German tradition of philology as Ernst Robert Curtius, Leo Spitzer, and Karl Vossler, having a mastery of many languages and epochs and all-inclusive in its approach, incorporating just about any intellectual endeavor into the discipline of literary criticism. Yet these two characters are the only ones whom Homer wrich to life who do not belong to the ruling class.

Odysseus’ scar (Auerbach) – Wikipedia

Indeed, to begin to understand his thought it helps to keep in mind that he regarded his specialist discipline of Romance philology as a form of historical inquiry. We do not know. Hegel uses the expression in his Lectures on Aesthetics in one of the most beautiful passages ever written on Dante.

Time can touch the latter only outwardly, and even that change is brought to our observation as little as possible; whereas the stern hand of God is ever upon. We are not told. In the early stories of the Old Testament the patriarchal condition is dominant too, but since the people involved are individual nomadic or half-nomadic tribal leaders, the social picture gives a much less stable impression; class distinctions are not felt.

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: Underlying his critical view is a belief or perhaps it is a hope that if we read literature with sufficient attentiveness and with enough contextualising knowledge, we can move beyond the limiting and relativising perspective of our own time and place.


Looking at it from another point of view, The Odyssey is a story very limited in the scope of its consequences; thus, it is consequently not difficult to resolve one’s personal truth with the truth of the Odyssey.

At this point in the narrative, there is a long digression that explains how Odysseus came to have the scar a hunting accident and how Euryclea is aware of this because she has known him since he was young. Auerbach, who was Jewish, was trained in the German philological tradition and would eventually become, along with Leo Spitzer, one of its best-known scholars. Yet these characters also retain their individuality — strikingly so — and, as Auerbach demonstrates in a pivotal chapter of Mimesisthis is dependent on their retaining a connection to their earthly, timebound existence.

Erich Auerbach

This becomes increasingly difficult the further our historical environment is removed from that of the Biblical books; and odyysseus these nevertheless maintain their claim to absolute authority, it is inevitable that they themselves be adapted through interpretative transformation.

The two women express their feelings in copious direct discourse. Unsurprisingly, much of the criticism of this essay has come from classicistsmany of ericj finding Auerbach’s reading of The Odyssey overly simplistic.

Nor does the concern with the representation of reality extend to Auerbach positing an objective standard against which individual works might be judged as more or less realistic. The broadly narrated, charming, and subtly fashioned story of the hunt, with all its elegance and self-sufficiency, its wealth of idyllic pictures, seeks to win the reader over wholly to itself as long as he is hearing it, to make him forget what had just taken place during the foot-washing.

Unsurprisingly, much of the criticism of this essay has come from classicists, many of them finding Auerbach’s reading of The Odyssey overly simplistic. Thus while, on the one hand, the reality of the Old Testament presents itself as complete truth with a claim to sole authority, on the other hand that very claim forces it to a constant interpretative change in its own content; for millennia it undergoes an incessant and active development with the life of man in Europe.


And this frequently occurs, as in the passage before us. Where he is actually, whether in Beersheba or elsewhere, whether indoors or in the open air, is not stated; it does not interest the ausrbach, the reader is not informed; and what Abraham was doing when God called to him is left in the same obscurity.

In contrast, the general, which compares, compiles, or differentiates phenomena, ought odsyseus be elastic and flexible; to the utmost that this is possible, it ought to fall into line with what is feasible from case to case, and it is to be understood from case to case only from the context.

Connected with the matters just discussed is the fact that the Greek text seems more limited and more static in respect to the circle of personages involved in the action and to their political activity. Despite his treatment of the many major works, Auerbach apparently did not think he was comprehensive enough, and apologized in the original publication inexplaining that he had access only to the “insufficient” resources available in the library at Istanbul University where he worked.

That Mimesis is, in its own understated way, a work of resistance has often been noted.

History of “Erich Auerbach” Note: Achilles ‘ actions are always characterized by his courage and his pride, while Odysseus exemplifies versatility and foresightedness. Now the difference between legend and history is in most cases easily perceived by a reasonably experienced reader.

Contents 1 Biography 2 Mimesis: Unlike Homer’s style, in which everything is illuminated, the Elohist leaves unsaid any detail that does not pertain to the story’s purpose. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Erich Auerbach November 9, – October 13, was a German philologist and comparative scholar and critic of literature. Please leave this field empty. By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

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