Dante, Poet of the Secular World

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New York Review of Books, 2007 - Literary Criticism - 194 pages
3 Reviews
Erich Auerbach’s Dante: Poet of the Secular World is an inspiring introduction to one of world’s greatest poets as well as a brilliantly argued and still provocative essay in the history of ideas. Here Auerbach, thought by many to be the greatest of twentieth-century scholar-critics, makes the seemingly paradoxical claim that it is in the poetry of Dante, supreme among religious poets, and above all in the stanzas of his Divine Comedy, that the secular world of the modern novel first took imaginative form. Auerbach’s study of Dante, a precursor and necessary complement to Mimesis, his magisterial overview of realism in Western literature, illuminates both the overall structure and the individual detail of Dante’s work, showing it to be an extraordinary synthesis of the sensuous and the conceptual, the particular and the universal, that redefined notions of human character and fate and opened the way into modernity.

CONTENTS
I. Historical Introduction; The Idea of Man in Literature
II. Dante's Early Poetry
III. The Subject of the "Comedy"
IV. The Structure of the "Comedy"
V. The Presentation
VI. The Survival and Transformation of Dante's Vision of Reality
Notes
Index
 

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Review: Dante: Poet of the Secular World

User Review  - John - Goodreads

I admire Auerbach's "Mimesis" more than any other work of literary criticism that comes to mind. This book contains a brief discussion of one episode in Dante's epic - quite illuminating, I think. So ... Read full review

Review: Dante: Poet of the Secular World

User Review  - Justin Evans - Goodreads

For chapters 1, 3 and the conclusion alone, I'd give this book 5 stars, but sadly 2, 4 and 5 are a little tedious. That said, it'd be a great book for anyone who's interested in Dante, but hasn't read ... Read full review

Contents

HISTORICAL INTRODUCTION THE IDEA OF MAN IN LITERATURE
1
II
24
THE SUBJECT OF THE COMEDY
69
THE STRUCTURE OF THE COMEDY
101
V
134
THE SURVIVAL AND TRANSFORMATION
174
NOTES
181
INDEX
193
Copyright

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About the author (2007)

Erich Auerbach (1892—1957) was born in Berlin, educated at the Universities of Heidelberg and Greifswald, and served in the German army during World War I. A professor at the University of Marburg, Auerbach fled Hitler’s Germany for Istanbul in 1933 and in 1947 moved to the United States, where he taught at Pennsylvania State and Yale.

Michael Dirda is the winner of the 1993 Pulitzer Prize for criticism. He has been an editor and writer for The Washington Post Book World for the past twenty years. He lives in Silver Spring, Maryland.

Ralph Manheim (1907—1992) translated GŸnter Grass, Louis-Ferdinand C?line, Hermann Hesse, and Martin Heidegger, along with many other German and French authors. The PEN/Ralph Manheim Medal for Translation is a major lifetime achievement award named in his honor. 

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