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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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, odhsseus social picture gives a much less stable impression; class distinctions are not felt. It was at once momentous and unimportant. The story of Abraham and Isaac is not better established than the story of Odysseus, Penelope, and Euryclea; both are legendary.

Auerbach’s Odysseus’ Scar

Where are the two speakers? But this process nearly always also reacts upon the frame, which requires enlarging and modifying. Highlighting the psychological transparency and consistency of the characters in the Odyssey as against what he regards as the psychological depth of the figures in the Old Testament, Auerbach suggests that the Old Testament gives a erihc historical impression than the Odyssey, which he classifies as closer to legend in which all details are leisurely fleshed out and all actions occur in a simple present—indeed even flashbacks are narrated in the aeurbach tense.

But in any case the goal was given, and in any case it is a matter of some sacred spot which was to receive a particular consecration by being connected with Abraham’s sacrifice.

The chronology and the remarkable breadth of vision are not meant to imply that Western literature has progressed in a linear fashion from naivety to sophistication. Conversely, what is said is thereby always loaded with meaning, creating an effect of accumulating suspense.

But any such subjectivistic-perspectivistic procedure, creating a foreground and background, resulting in the present lying open to the depths of the past, uaerbach entirely foreign to the Homeric style; the Homeric style knows only a foreground, only a uniformly illuminated, uniformly objective present.

God speaks to Abraham from a contextless void.

Odysseus’ scar (Auerbach)

The two poles of the figure are separate in time, but they both also lie within time as real events or figures. This page was last edited on 12 Aprilat But it also hints at an underlying tension, for there clearly are some rather large concepts and theoretical issues moving beneath the surface of his detailed investigations like shadows in the water.


Their structure is different. The arranging must happen in such a way that it allows the individual phenomenon to live and unfold freely. There are a number of interesting aspects to this argument. But their religious intent involves an absolute claim to historical truth. Auerbach notes here the clarity and orderliness of Homer’s verse, as well as the tidy comparative, causal, and temporal relationships articulated by Homer’s precise syntactical constructions.

But even the human beings in the Biblical stories have greater depths of time, fate, and consciousness than do the human beings in Homer; although they are nearly always caught up in an event engaging all their faculties, they are not so entirely immersed in its present that they do not remain continually conscious of what has happened to them earlier and elsewhere; their thoughts and feelings have more layers, are more entangled. Mimesis goes on to trace the development of Western literature, hopscotching its way across millennia in a series of closely argued yet lucid essays that analyse key texts in which significant formal innovations can be seen to have occurred.

The poor beggar Odysseus is only masquerading, but Adam is really cast down, Jacob really a refugee, Joseph really in the pit and then a slave to be bought and sold. Poet of the Secular Worldin which he compares the deaths of Socrates and Jesus. How fraught with background, in comparison, are characters like Saul and David!

Please help to improve this article by introducing more precise citations. All other scenes, issues, and ordinances have no right to appear independently of it, and it is promised that all of them, the history of all mankind, will be given their due place within its frame, will be subordinated to it. Historicism is the view that ideas and theories should be seen within their historical context, as part of a larger system to which the idea or theory is related.

Site by Pure and Applied. Bitter to him auerbacu the early morning in which he saddles his ass, calls his serving-men and his odyxseus Isaac, and sets out; but he obeys, he walks on until the third day, then lifts up his eyes and sees the place. 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.

Providence is, then, a historical fact. The Representation of Reality in Western Literaturea collection of essays by German-Jewish philologist Erich Auerbach charting out the development of representations of reality in literature.

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doysseus The Bible, on the other hand, lays a “tyrannical” claim on all truth from Creation to the Last Days, and as a result is very difficult to reconcile with one’s sense of truth. Auerbach reserves some of his strongest language to describe this imposition and draw the contrast in the sharpest of terms:. Yet these two characters are the only ones whom Homer brings to life who do not belong to the ruling class.

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: In it the idea is subjected to the problematic character and desperate injustice of earthly happening. In the narrative itself, a third chief character appears: It would be difficult, then, to imagine styles more contrasted than those of these two equally ancient and equally epic texts. Please leave this field empty.

By carefully tracing the meaning of the Latin term figura from its earliest usage, Auerbach demonstrates that initially it signified only a material object, but over time acquired additional abstracted connotations.

This was the actual purpose of philology, beginning with Vico and Herder, and it was thanks to it that philology became the leading method in the humanities. And that is still a comparatively simple case.

On the other hand, some of Auerbach’s descriptions of the Biblical style, such as “tyrannical”, seem to better fit Nazism than its Jewish victims, a fact which would undermine such an analogy were Auerbach trying to make one.

Now the difference between legend and history is in most cases easily perceived by a reasonably experienced reader. The image of man eclipses the image of God. Some restrictions may apply aerbach use of individual images which are separately licensed.

Here we find a very different style of narrative, notable for its lack of explanatory detail. So it is with the passage before us. So the long-term effect of the concept of a divinely ordained universal history, and the antagonism between appearance and reality it engenders, is to throw us back upon the elementary fact of our worldly existence.