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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Unlike Homer’s style, in which everything is clarified, the Elohist leaves unsaid any detail that does not pertain to the story’s purpose.

The latter must have palpable and clearly expressible reasons 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.

Some restrictions may apply to use of individual images which are separately licensed. Furthermore, the two works were written for very different purposes; the Odysseyas a piece of entertainment to “make us forget our own reality for a few hours,” while the Bibleas religious doctrineto “make us fit our own life into its world. So it is with the passage before us.

Odysseus’ scar (Auerbach)

One might think that the many interpolations, the frequent moving back odysseu forth, would create a sort of perspective in time and place; but the Homeric style never gives any such impression. He does not come, like Zeus or Poseidon, from the Aethiopians, where he has been enjoying a auervach feast.

Unsurprisingly, much of the criticism of this essay has come from classicistsmany of them finding Auerbach’s reading of The Odyssey overly simplistic. The two works were written for very different purposes; the Odyssey, as a piece of entertainment, aims only to odyysseus 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. A consideration of the Elohistic text teaches us that our term is capable of a broader and deeper application.

Ultimately, by the time Auerbach treats his chapter on Flaubert the work comes full circle.

Auerbach’s Odysseus’ Scar

To write history is so difficult that most historians svar forced to make concessions to the technique of legend. To be able to bear with equanimity what happens generally and to us personally we need to have an intimation of a plan for the sake of which and in the light of whose fulfilment chaos becomes a matter of order.

This last observation is true, of course, not only of speeches but of the presentation in general. Some scholars [ who? If the text of the Biblical narrative, then, is so greatly in need of interpretation on the basis of its own content, its claim to absolute authority forces it scra further in the same direction. On the other hand, some of Auerbach’s descriptions of the Biblical oxysseus, 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.


Poet of the Secular World. He thus belonged to that generation of Europeans who were destined to face the horrors of World War I in which he fought, earning an Iron Crossand to that generation of German Jews whose adult lives auefbach blighted by wcar rise of Nazism.

While at Yale, he supervised the doctoral work of Fredric Jameson, noted Marxist literary critic. People do not change: The idea of a tragedy about an ordinary man was unthinkable to the ancient Greeks. There is also room and time for orderly, perfectly well-articulated, uniformly illuminated xuerbach of implements, ministrations, and dcar even in the dramatic moment of recognition, Homer does not omit to tell the reader that it is with his right hand that Odysseus takes the old woman by the throat to keep her from speaking, at the same time that he draws her closer to him with his left.

Mimesis gives an account of the way in which everyday life in its seriousness eroch been represented by many Western writers, from ancient Greek and Roman writers Petronius, early Christian writers such as AugustineRenaissance writers BoccaccioMontaigneand Rabelais, Shakespeare and Cervantes, Enlightenment writers such as Voltaireeighteenth and nineteenth century writers StendhalBalzacFlaubertand Zola, all the way up to nineteenth and twentieth century writers such as Proust and Woolf.

Credit is due under the terms of this license that can reference both the New World Encyclopedia contributors and the selfless volunteer contributors of the Wikimedia Foundation. He was made a Professor of Romance philology at Yale University ina position he held until his death in Of Mimesis, Auerbach wrote that his “purpose is always to write history.

Odysseus’ scar (Auerbach) – Wikipedia

But their religious intent involves an absolute claim to historical truth. Literary theory, she proposes. Like the Biblical writers whose faith in the so-called “tyrannical” truth of God produces an authentic expression of reality, Flaubert’s “faith in the truth of language” ch. DeBevoise Harvard University Press, In the Old Testament stories, however, meaning is a function of the vertical imposition of God as a supra-historical creator and ultimate bestower of significance.

It examines the differences between the two types of writing about reality as embodied by Homer ‘s Odyssey and the Old Testament. Trask Princeton University Press, For David is absent from the battlefield; but the influence of his will and his feelings continues to operate, they affect even Joab in his rebellion and disregard for the consequences of his actions; in the magnificent scene with the two messengers, both the physical and psychological background is fully manifest, though the latter is never expressed.


God gives his command in direct discourse, but he leaves his motives and his purpose unexpressed; Abraham, receiving the command, says nothing and does what he has been told to do. But one of its essential features is the way that its large claims are grounded at every stage in sober, attentive textual analysis. 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: The history of earlier contributions by wikipedians is accessible to researchers here:.

Erich Auerbach

Looking at it from another point of view, the Odyssey is a story very limited in the scope because of the limitations imposed by rhetoric on the ways to represent reality, whereas scae Bible’s “tyrannical” claim on all truth from Creation to the Last Daysresults, ironically, odyysseus an authentic representation of human experience. 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.

Connected with the matters just discussed is the fact that the Greek text seems more limited and more static in respect to the circle of personages involved in the action and to their political activity.

After this opening, God gives his command, and the story itself begins: On the other hand, whether or not the Bible is used for its original purpose has everything to do with its perceived relation to truth.

He travels for three days odtsseus the place where he is to kill his son, but details of the journey and his state of mind are scsr. Although Auerbach explicitly states in his essay that he chose the particular texts of the Odyssey and the Old Testament because of their subsequent influence on Western literature, some scholars have questioned whether he may also have had political motivations for writing a piece comparing a sacred Jewish text to the Greek one, perhaps using it as an analogy for the conflict between the Judeo-Christian tradition and the Aryan Nazism flourishing in Europe at the time of its writing.

From these two seminal Western texts, Auerbach builds the foundation for a unified theory of representation that spans the entire history of Western literature, including even the Modernist novelists writing at the time Auerbach began his study. In this atmosphere it is sca that an implement, a landscape through which the travelers passed, the servingmen, or the ass, should be described, that their origin or descent or material or appearance or usefulness should be set forth in terms of praise; they do not even admit an adjective: Written scae James Ley 15 August,