European Literature and the Latin Middle Ages

Princeton University Press
2
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Published just after the Second World War, European Literature and the Latin Middle Ages is a sweeping exploration of the remarkable continuity of European literature across time and place, from the classical era up to the early nineteenth century, and from the Italian peninsula to the British Isles. In what T. S. Eliot called a "magnificent" book, Ernst Robert Curtius establishes medieval Latin literature as the vital transition between the literature of antiquity and the vernacular literatures of later centuries. The result is nothing less than a masterful synthesis of European literature from Homer to Goethe.

European Literature and the Latin Middle Ages is a monumental work of literary scholarship. In a new introduction, Colin Burrow provides critical insights into Curtius's life and ideas and highlights the distinctive importance of this wonderful book.

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About the author

Ernst Robert Curtius held the chair of romance literature and language at Bonn University from 1929 until his retirement in 1951. Colin Burrow is a fellow of All Souls College, University of Oxford. He is the author of Epic Romance: Homer to Milton.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Princeton University Press
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Published on
Jul 21, 2013
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Pages
752
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ISBN
9781400846153
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Language
English
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Genres
Literary Criticism / Ancient & Classical
Literary Criticism / European / General
Literary Criticism / General
Literary Criticism / Medieval
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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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Although the reputation of the great German scholar Ernst Robert Curtius was firmly established for English and American readers by the translation of European Literature and the Latin Middle Ages, much of his work is still unknown to them. These twenty-four essays, written over a period of nearly thirty years, range widely in time and scope and consider some of the greatest figures in European literature, among them Virgil, Goethe, Balzac, Joyce, Eliot, Ortega y Gasset, and Hesse. The essays show the qualities that made Curtius one of the great critics of our age: his lucid, penetrating mind, his comprehensive erudition, his cosmopolitan outlook, and above all his passionate concern for European culture.

Like T. S. Eliot, the subject of one of his finest essays, Curtius believed in an ideal order, a cultural unity of the West. The unifying element in all these essays is a concern to insure the conservation and continuance of European humanistic culture. For him this culture consisted of the literary heritage of Greece and Rome, developed and enriched by the Christian civilization of the Middle Ages. Consequently he selected for discussion those poets and writers who have been conscious of the unity of these two European currents and who have striven to maintain it in our time. As he ranged freely through the languages and literatures of all Western cultures, Curtius himself did much to preserve this tradition, to demonstrate its relevance, and insure its continuity.

Originally published in 1973.

The Princeton Legacy Library uses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback and hardcover editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

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.

Although the reputation of the great German scholar Ernst Robert Curtius was firmly established for English and American readers by the translation of European Literature and the Latin Middle Ages, much of his work is still unknown to them. These twenty-four essays, written over a period of nearly thirty years, range widely in time and scope and consider some of the greatest figures in European literature, among them Virgil, Goethe, Balzac, Joyce, Eliot, Ortega y Gasset, and Hesse. The essays show the qualities that made Curtius one of the great critics of our age: his lucid, penetrating mind, his comprehensive erudition, his cosmopolitan outlook, and above all his passionate concern for European culture.

Like T. S. Eliot, the subject of one of his finest essays, Curtius believed in an ideal order, a cultural unity of the West. The unifying element in all these essays is a concern to insure the conservation and continuance of European humanistic culture. For him this culture consisted of the literary heritage of Greece and Rome, developed and enriched by the Christian civilization of the Middle Ages. Consequently he selected for discussion those poets and writers who have been conscious of the unity of these two European currents and who have striven to maintain it in our time. As he ranged freely through the languages and literatures of all Western cultures, Curtius himself did much to preserve this tradition, to demonstrate its relevance, and insure its continuity.

Originally published in 1973.

The Princeton Legacy Library uses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback and hardcover editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

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