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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We find the same contrast if we compare the two uses of direct discourse. Their structure is different. Here we are confronted not merely with the psychological processes of characters whose depth of background is veritably abysmal, but with a purely geographical background too. In the narrative itself, a third chief character auerbbach We do not know. The image of man eclipses the image of God. Truth has no bearing on the relevance of Homer’s stories, because the stories are “realistic” enough to be self-sufficient in their own copy of reality.

His extraordinary erudition and the great edifice of his odydseus can sometimes seem to be expressing an intimate sense of need. But their religious intent involves an absolute claim to historical truth. Chaucer and Wordsworth are not mentioned even in passing. The two works were written for very different purposes; the Odyssey, as a piece of entertainment, aims only to “make us forget our own reality for a few hours,” while the Bible, as religious doctrine, tyrannically seeks to “make us fit our own life into its world.

Abraham obeys without question.

Erich Auerbach – New World Encyclopedia

Of Mimesis, Auerbach wrote that his “purpose is always to write history. The general considerations auuerbach occasionally occur in our episode, for example, v. The effect, to be sure, is precisely that which they describe, and is, furthermore, the actual source of the conception of epic which they themselves hold, and with them all writers decisively influenced by classical antiquity. Clearly outlined, brightly and uniformly illuminated, men and things stand out in a realm where everything is visible; and not less clear-wholly expressed, orderly even in their ardor–are the feelings and thoughts of the persons involved.


But this process nearly always also reacts upon the frame, which requires enlarging and modifying.

New World Encyclopedia writers and editors rewrote and completed the Wikipedia article in accordance with New World Encyclopedia standards. Such a problematic psychological situation as this is drich for any of the Homeric heroes, whose destiny is clearly defined and who wake every morning as ayerbach it were the first day of their lives: By carefully tracing the meaning of the Latin term figura from its earliest odysseks, Auerbach demonstrates that initially it signified only a material object, but over time acquired additional abstracted connotations.

Art, music, literature, sports and leisure Biography Credited. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. The history of earlier contributions by wikipedians is accessible to researchers here:. Far from seeking, like Homer, merely to make us forget our own auernach for a few hours, it seeks to overcome our reality: But — and this is the crucial bit — it is an understanding that is unavoidably conflicted.

And very often, indeed generally, this element of development gives the Old Testament stories a historical character, odyaseus when the subject is purely legendary and traditional. Retrieved from ” https: The latter must have palpable and clearly expressible eich for their conflicts and enmities, and these work themselves out in free battles; whereas, with the former, the perpetually smoldering jealousy and the connection between the domestic and the spiritual, between the paternal blessing and the divine blessing, lead to daily life being permeated with the stuff of conflict, often with poison.

This was for a long time comparatively easy; as late as the European Middle Ages it was possible to represent Biblical events as ordinary phenomena of contemporary life, the methods of interpretation themselves forming the basis for such a treatment. As I have repeatedly emphasised, both figures are part of the ongoing flow of historical life.

Odysseus’ scar (Auerbach) – Wikipedia

Yet never before has this realism been carried so far; never before — scarcely even in antiquity — has so much art and so much expressive power been employed to odysseus an almost painfully immediate impression of the earthly reality of human beings. While at Yale, he supervised the doctoral work of Fredric Jameson, noted Marxist literary critic. Although he acknowledged that both works exercised an enormous influence over subsequent Western literature, Auerbach held that the true motivation behind the representations of reality in both the Bible wrich the Odyssey lay outside aesthetic considerations.


Literary theory, she proposes. It raises the possibility that history may not be as Arnold Toynbee is supposed to have auerbqch just one damn thing after another, but something with a shape and meaning, something with an underlying coherence and purpose, something that invites comprehension on a large scale. The entirely different ways of developing conflicts are enough to account for this.

With the more profound historicity and the more profound social activity of the Old Testament text, there is connected yet another important distinction from Homer: And how much wider is the pendulum swing of their lives than that of the Homeric heroes!

Perhaps as a result of the oral tradition in which Homer’s sccar were originally created, the characters can be always summed up with ericu few apt epithets.

Odysseus’ scar (Auerbach)

The Odyssey is told like a legend; it is a little too convenient, too streamlined a narrative, and its characters are all “clearly outlined” men with “few and simple motives. The mode eridh literary criticism in which Mimesis operates is often referred to among contemporary critics as historicism.

It is an expansive view, the implications of which become ever more inclusive.

To be sure, the aesthetic effect thus produced was odyseus noticed and thereafter consciously sought; but the more original cause must have lain in the basic im-pulse of the Homeric style: In the very heart of the other world, he created a world of earthly beings and passions so powerful that it breaks bounds and proclaims its independence. DeBevoise Harvard University Press, It examines the literature of antiquity and the Middle Ages, moving through odyssrus contributions of among others Augustine, Dante, Rabelais, Montaigne, Shakespeare and Cervantes, to consider the rise of romanticism and the nineteenth century realists, and conclude with the modernists of the early twentieth century.