Erich Auerbach and the Crisis of German Philology: The Humanist Tradition in Peril

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Springer, Aug 24, 2016 - Literary Criticism - 218 pages
This book analyzes and contextualizes Auerbach’s life and mind in the wide ideological, philological, and historical context of his time, especially the rise of Aryan philology and its eventual triumph with the Nazi Revolution or the Hitler Revolution in Germany of 1933. It deals specifically with his struggle against the premises of Aryan philology, based on völkisch mysticism and Nazi historiography, which eliminated the Old Testament from German Kultur and Volksgeist in particular, and Western culture and civilization in general. It examines in detail his apologia for, or defense and justification of, Western Judaeo-Christian humanist tradition at its gravest existential moment. It discusses Auerbach’s ultimate goal, which was to counter the overt racist tendencies and völkish ideology in Germany, or the belief in the Community of Blood and Fate of the German people, which sharply distinguished between Kultur and civilization and glorified völkisch nationalism over European civilization. The volume includes an analysis of the entire twenty chapters of Auerbach’s most celebrated book: Mimesis: The Representation of Reality in Western Literature, 1946.

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Erich Auerbach Life Times and Works
Dante and the Discovery of European Representation of Man
The Crisis of German Philology Aryan Philology and the Elimination of the Old Testament
Two Responses to the German Crisis of Philology Ernst Robert Curtius and Erich Auerbach
Exile and Interpretation The Struggle Against Aryan Philology and Nazi Barbarism
Mimesis An Apologia for Western JudaeoChristian Humanist Tradition in an Age of Peril Tyranny and Barbarism
Epilogue Exile Interpretation and Alienation

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About the author (2016)

Avihu Zakai is Professor of History at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He is the author of twelve books, among them Exile and Kingdom: History and Apocalypse in the Puritan Migration to America (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992); Jonathan Edwards’s Philosophy of History: The Re-Enchantment of the World in the Age of Enlightenment (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2003, in addition to numerous articles and presentations for scholarly and general audiences.

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