Erich auerbach

Erich Auerbach. German philologist and critic. He devoted himself especially to the study of Vico and Dante , and in 1929 published his first work on the great Italian poet, Dante as a poet of the earthly world. Most of his interest and research throughout his life was devoted to this poet.


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  • 1 Biographical synthesis
    • 1 Professional career
    • 2 Death
    • 3 Works
    • 4 Works
  • 2 Source

Biographical synthesis

Born in Berlin on November 9 , 1892 , of Jewish origin.

Career path

It is part of the German philological tradition of Ernst Robert Curtius , Leo Spitzer and Karl Vossler , after fighting in the First World War . He obtained his doctorate in 1921 .

In the same year he was called to succeed Leo Spitzer at the University of Marburg , where he worked as a teacher until 1936 , the year he took refuge in Turkey . At Istanbul University he continued his activity as a philologist, teaching and dedicating himself to the writing of his most famous work, published in 1946 under the title Mimesis. Realism in western literature .

In two previous writings, Romantik und Realismus 1933 and Über die ernste Nachahmung des Alltäglichen 1937 , he had already presented his first reflections on realism . From 1942 to 1945 he had collected and analyzed a selection of passages from works of European literature, from the ancient Biblical and Homeric texts , through the Middle Ages , to the present day, and had examined them in the light of an original method. which represents an extension and a deepening of Leo Spitzer’s criticism in its historicist sense.

Having noted that by representing reality both in biblical texts and especially in those of the great French writers of the nineteenth century , the distinction between different literary genres as hitherto imposed by the rigid canons of the ancient classics had been overcome, restored during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries , the author examines the different ways of representing reality about characters and events of daily life in the works of those writers who, at different times and for different reasons, did not accept these schemes.

He applied a method of multiple and flexible analysis, which allowed him to develop his hypotheses and obtain their confirmation, and, at the same time, leave an example of text analysis that is not only stylistic, philological or historicist, but a set of all these elements. , and on this basis not only reconstructed the personality of the different authors, but also their work, with all the psychological, social and historical characteristics of the time in which it matured.

His lack of a rigid system of doctrine drew him some criticism, to which he replied in 1950 with the publication of Epilegomena zu Mimesis , where he exposed the principles to which he had adhered. But his determination in this work did not prevent him from continuing his studies as a philologist, especially the publication of other essays on Dante and The Divine Comedy .


He died in Connecticut , United States on October 13 , 1957 .


In 1944 he published the Neue Dantestudien collection , followed by the publication of the essays St. Francis of Assisi in Dante’s Commedia 1945 , Rising to Christ on the Cross 1949 and Dante’s Prayer to the Virgin and Earlier Eulogies 1949 , published in American specialized magazines, since He had moved to the United States in 1947 to continue his teaching work, first at Pennsylvania State University , then at the Institute for Advanced Studies at Princeton, and finally, and since 1950 , at Yale University .


  • Dante: Poet of the secular world.
  • Mimesis: The representation of reality in western literature.
  • Literary language and its audience (German edition 1958).


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