Erich Auerbach (1892-1957) was a German philologist, comparative scholar, historian, and critic of literature. His best-known book was Mimesis, a history of representation in literature from ancient to modern times in many languages.

Auerbach was trained in the German philological tradition (and would eventually become, along with Leo Spitzer, one of its best-known scholars). After fighting in World War I, he earned a doctorate in 1921 and in 1929 became a member of the philology faculty at the University of Marburg, publishing a well-received study of Dante Aligheri. But with the rise of the Nazis, Auerbach, who was Jewish, was forced to vacate his position in 1935. Exiled from Germany, he took up residence in Istanbul, where he wrote Mimesis, which is generally considered his masterwork.

He later moved to the United States, in 1947, teaching at Pennsylvania State University and then working at the Institute for Advanced Study of Princeton University; finally he was made a Professor of Romance language philology at Yale University in 1950, a position he held until his death in 1957.


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