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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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.

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. Yet his work is drawn to notions of comprehensiveness, universality and ultimacy, and drawn in a revealingly ambivalent way that suggests he felt their importance and oppressiveness with equal force.

Odysseus’ scar (Auerbach)

Auerbach’s essay demonstrates how the economy of language in the Biblical account paradoxically creates a greater psychological depth.

To cite this article click here for a list of acceptable citing formats. The old man, of whom we know how he has become what he is is more of an individual than the young man; for it is only during the course of an eventful life that men ovysseus differentiated into full individuality; and it is this history of a personality which the Old Testament odyssrus to us as the formation undergone by those whom God has chosen to be examples.

And yet he is closer to it than is the Old Testament. 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 sfar 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.


There are a number of interesting erlch to this argument.

Even where the legendary does not immediately betray itself by elements of the miraculdus, by the repetition of well-known standard motives, typical patterns and themes, through neglect of clear details of time and place, and the like, it is generally quickly recognizable by its composition. 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.

Some restrictions may apply to use of individual images which are separately licensed. Site by Pure and Applied. By keeping the focus always on the present narrative, the “procession of phenomena” that Homer presents always remains illuminated in the foreground, even as the story itself jumps back and forth between times and locations.

In the latter half of the essay, Auerbach switches to a point-by-point comparison of the two works:. Eumaeus too, though he still remembers that he was born a freeman and indeed of a noble house he was stolen as a boyhas, not only in fact but also in his own feeling, no longer a life of his own, he is entirely involved in the life of his masters.

Everything is explained and externalised; nothing is allowed to remain obscure. While the former can be various and arbitrary, multi-layered in its characterization of people and events, the latter is the epitome of detailed, organized, and logical storytelling.

When the young Euryclea vv. Readers of the Odyssey will remember the well-prepared and touching scene in book 19, when Odysseus has at last come home, the scene in which the old housekeeper Euryclea, who had been his nurse, recognizes him by a scar on his thigh. This article abides efich terms of the Creative Commons CC-by-sa 3. 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.


The two poles of the figure are separate in time, but they both also lie within time as real events ovysseus figures. For Homerit lay in the rhetorical tradition of the poet to “represent phenomena in a fully externalized form, visible and palpable in all their parts.

The digressions are not meant to keep the reader in suspense, but rather to relax the tension.

Odysseus’ scar (Auerbach) – Wikipedia

All this is scrupulously extemalized and narrated in leisurely fashion. He travels for three days to the place where he is to kill his son, but details of the journey and his state of mind are absent. Written by James Ley 15 August, The history of earlier contributions by wikipedians is accessible to researchers here:.

Auerbach shared with many a war-weary European an understandable concern about the ultimate fate of his civilisation. With the rise of National Socialism, however, Auerbach was forced to vacate his position in It was at once momentous and auerach. Unsurprisingly, much of the criticism of this essay has come from classicistsmany of them finding Auerbach’s reading of The Odyssey overly simplistic.

The ruling class is still so strongly patriarchal, and still itself so involved in the daily activities of domestic life, that one is sometimes likely to forget their rank. Jesus, on the other hand, was betrayed by one follower and denied by another; he was tortured etich humiliated and forsaken; he died in the midst of disorder and confusion with his promises unfulfilled. Encoded in these contrasting narrative styles, argues Auerbach, are fundamentally different ways of representing and therefore understanding reality.

The concept of God held by the Jews is less a cause than a symptom of their manner of comprehending and representing things.

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