Mimesis: The Representation of Reality in Western Literature

Princeton University Press
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More than half a century after its translation into English, Erich Auerbach's Mimesis remains a masterpiece of 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. This new expanded edition includes a substantial essay in introduction by Edward Said as well as an essay, never before translated into English, in which Auerbach responds to his critics.

A German Jew, Auerbach was forced out of his professorship at the University of Marburg in 1935. He left for Turkey, where he taught at the state university in Istanbul. There he wrote Mimesis, publishing it in German after the end of the war. Displaced as he was, Auerbach produced a work of great erudition that contains no footnotes, basing his arguments instead on searching, illuminating readings of key passages from his primary texts. His 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. This Princeton Classics edition includes a substantial introduction by Edward Said as well as an essay in which Auerbach responds to his critics.

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About the author

Erich Auerbach, before his death in 1957, was Sterling Professor of Romance Languages at Yale University.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Princeton University Press
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Published on
Oct 6, 2013
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Pages
616
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ISBN
9781400847952
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Language
English
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Genres
Literary Criticism / Comparative Literature
Literary Criticism / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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Una defensa apasionada de la educación humanista y los valores democráticos.

La educación humanista tradicional -sostiene Said- lleva mucho tiempo siendo atacada por los tecnócratas de la cultura y la política que desean un cambio profundo en la orientación de los estudios y, por extensión, en la forma de entender e interpretar el mundo. Siguiendo este razonamiento, el celebrado autor de Orientalismo expone en esta obra sus razones para seguir apostando por una forma democrática de humanismo, una manera diversa de entender la educación que incorpore al desarrollo cultural un proyecto amplio de emancipación social.

Defensor apasionado de la educación humanista y de los valores democráticos frente a los excesos consumistas de la sociedad contemporánea y el pensamiento neoliberal, Edward W. Said propone un diálogo fluido y ágil entre las diferentes tradiciones culturales como estrategia necesaria para revitalizar las denostadashumanidades, con el fin de que la cultura se acerque cada vez más al hombre y a sus ideales. Las palabras, dice el profesor Said, son agentes vitales, imprescindibles, para el cambio histórico y político, al tiempo que la lectura, entendida como aprendizaje, nos ayuda a ser mejores y a cuestionar, desmontar y reformular el mundo constantemente.

Reseñas:

«Edward W. Said nos ayuda a comprender quiénes somos y qué debemos pensar si aspiramos a ser actores morales y no sirvientes del poder.»
Noam Chomsky

«Said es una brillante y única amalgama de profesor, esteta y activista político que desafía y estimula nuestro pensamiento en todas las áreas.»
The Washington Post

«Edward W. Said es uno de los principales pensadores de esta época.»
The New York Observer

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