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ENG280 - October 19 - Auerbach.docx

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Chris Warley

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ENG280 October 19 Kristen Young
Brooks was about close reading to find the paradoxes, Auerbach was about close
reading to understand the style
o Both obsessed with how things are written not what or why it says what it says
o Auerbach looks at cultural reflections, Brooks tries really hard to separate art
from the world
The Well-Wrought Urn is (supposed to be) sealed off from the world
How things mean vs. what they mean
Auerbach always wants to get to history
o Wants to break the boundary between art and history
o Use art to get to history
Auerbach is trying to get to the outside of the poem by looking closely at the inside
Brooks = Kant, Auerbach = Hegel (as their 'founders')
There is a gap between what we see and what is reality
Could interpret mimesis as a manifestation of reality
To Auerbach there is no difference between art and history
o Style offers a more fundamental truth of history
The aim of literary criticism is to answer what does literature have to do with our
o Judge art to figure out the world
o Literary criticism then, in a sense, is always doing history
Looks at the implications of the 2 styles on 1037
KJV is the more historical because it more closely resembles reality
o Complex characters and situations vs. cardboard cut-out characters(Homer)
Homer's characters are always in the present, are always the same, there is no
change in character
KJV characters present an amount of consciousness, that allows us a glimpse into
their minds
o Not supposed to be historical because it is religious but the consciousness
presents a more historical text
The style of the text presents the consciousness
o We don't need the narrator to tell us what the character's are feeling but we
know through style
Not there for entertainment, the religious claims make them historical truths
o Realistic vs. historical truth
The Elohist was compelled to rite it down because he thought it was true (demands
that it be treated as true)
Homer was/is fiction and therefore legend
"What he produced, then, was not primarily oriented toward 'realism' (if he
succeeded in being realistic, it was merely a means, not an end); it was oriented
toward truth." 1039
Truth doesn't equal transhistorical
o Whats true is what is historically true
The position that the reader is in is, in some senses, the more truer 'spirit'
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