Erich Auerbach's Mimesis as a Meditation on the Shoah

in German Politics and Society
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  • 1 University of Wuppertal
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Within the enormous body of critical writings dedicated to literary

works devoted to the Shoah, the possibility of its very representation

and the problems arising in the potential deformation of memory

are frequent topics. In light of these issues, it might be helpful to

examine a well-known work of literary scholarship, Erich Auerbach’s

Mimesis, The Representation of Reality in Western Literature, written

between May 1942 and April 1945, as a potentially overlooked

example of a highly sublimated allegorical meditation on the contemporary

murder of Europe’s Jews. Auerbach’s classic work, which

explicitly takes literary representation as its central theme, seems to

use carefully and subtly selected examples from western literature as

figures for current events.

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