Study Guide

Erich Auerbach - Major Arguments

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Major Arguments

I know what you're thinking—"Not more about Mimesis! Please!"

Okay, okay. But I just want to leave you with a short P.S., and that is this: I am more than the author of that modest survey of several thousand years of Western literature. Among academics, I am known as that quintessential outsider: the intellectual émigré, chased out by evildoers but never robbed of my dignity or ability to produce breathtaking works of critical interpretation. In short: I'm a survivor.

You know by now that I just loved everyday life. If I had a motto, it would be something like: "Look at social, military, economic, domestic, and all cultural details to really understand a book. What food characters eat and what they stare at—those things matter."

Or maybe something pithier.

Anyway, my point is that it's the moment that matters—that's why rushing through a book will get you nowhere. You may miss the one word that tells you the most about the historical context of the literature.

As you know, I have suffered. But I am still a people person. You'd never find me making a snobby remark: I love people from all classes and all corners of the world. I'm not into hierarchies; I like democracy, and I like realism.

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