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Time, History, and Literature: Selected Essays of Erich Auerbach Hardcover – November 24, 2013

ISBN-13: 978-0691137117 ISBN-10: 0691137110

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Time, History, and Literature: Selected Essays of Erich Auerbach + Mimesis: The Representation of Reality in Western Literature (Princeton Classics) + Dante: Poet of the Secular World (New York Review Books Classics)
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press (November 24, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0691137110
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691137117
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6.5 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #177,352 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"The 20 essays collected here--many of them translated from the German for the first time--bear out editor Porter's contention that Auerbach (1892-1957), best known for his literary study Mimesis, was one of the 20th century's great literary critics. . . . Those well-versed in comparative literature will find his insights stimulating."--Publishers Weekly

"Editor Porter purposefully organizes Auerbach's writings . . . in order to sketch a historical panorama of erudite language to predictions for future literary invention. He skillfully accomplishes these goals by drawing out examples of Auerbach's writing focused on humans and their language as earthly (irdisch) artifacts, each created with a historical perspective, not just as poetic language steeped in spiritual motifs alone. . . . [S]uited for literary theorists writing from disparate paradigms and for most scholars from the humanities engaged in granularly close readings pursuing the understanding of writing as one of many human creations."--Library Journal

"For scholar and non-academic alike, this work is of extreme importance, especially given the relatively scanty number of works available on such a key figure to the development of the study of comparative literature."--Lois Henderson, BookPleasures.com

"This collection will be invaluable to anyone studying literary theory, historiography, or cultural studies."--Choice

"The publication of Time, History, and Literature: Selected Essays of Erich Auerbach provides an excellent opportunity to witness a master philologist at work."--Joseph Epstein, Weekly Standard

"[A] career-spanning collection that includes several essays which are appearing in English for the first time. . . . [E]xcellent introduction. . . . One of the most valuable aspects of this volume is that these essays set out . . . the extent of Auerbach's intellectual debt to Vico, whom he credits as the first methodical theorist of history. . . . The densely written, subtle essays towards the end of Time, Literature, and History . . . are models of careful scholarly contextualization and analysis."--James Ley, Sydney Review of Books

From the Inside Flap

"Even the most enthusiastic readers of Erich Auerbach's Mimesis will be surprised by the extent to which this collection of essays changes the appreciation of Auerbach's work. Shifting from the New Critical fluency of his historical readings, these selections pay closer attention to the relation between forms of language and the transformation of the world through human thought and behavior. This revelatory book presents a new view of Auerbach, whose work gains in philosophical pertinence and complexity."--Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht, Stanford University

"At last, a book that exposes the audacity of Auerbach's philosophical anthropology. Thanks to her deep understanding of the nuances of German, Jane Newman skillfully captures the intricate rhythms and verbal creativity of Auerbach's prose. James Porter, meanwhile, shows us the hidden genius of Auerbach as a thinker who reveals the beauty and terror of history and the people who make it."--Stephen G. Nichols, James M. Beall Professor Emeritus of French and Humanities, Johns Hopkins University

"The brilliant, innovative, and eminently sophisticated essays in this vitally important and long-overdue book demonstrate not only the breadth of Auerbach's erudition, but also the continued relevance of his work for literary scholars today. A stunning achievement."--John Hamilton, Harvard University

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Format: Hardcover
Of this collection of twenty essays by the German founder of comparative literature, spanning his entire career, twelve have never before appeared in English, and one is published here for the very first time. The main purpose behind this volume is to make Auerbach’s writings more generally available to English-speaking audiences. With this intent in mind, James I. Porter, professor of classics and comparative literature at the University of California, Irvine presents a profound and deeply insightful introduction to the life, work and importance of Auerbach, within the context of the time and place within which, and where, he wrote. Of great importance to his work was the fact that he was a displaced Jewish person in exile, having escaped the National Socialist regime in the country of his birth, and having taken up an academic appointment in Istanbul, at the time of his writing of his greatest work, and that for which he is the most renowned, namely Mimesis.

The significance of these essays is that they both foreshadow, and follow on from, the above-mentioned text, so that they comprehensively reflect Auerbach’s development as a thinker and philosopher. The focus throughout the essays included here is on the linkage between different forms of language, and on the transformation of the Western world by means of human intellectual conception, perception, and action. Rather than arranging the essays chronologically, Porter has opted for organizing them into three main themes: history and the philosophy of history: Vico, Herder, and Hegel; time and temporality in literature; and passionate subjects, from the Bible to secular modernity.
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One of the great classics of literary criticism, and contains one of the most brilliant essays on Dante, "Figura."
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