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Course Details

Spring 2017-2018
GER 520 / COM 520   Graded A-F, P/D/F, Audit

Topics in Literary and Cultural Theory - Erich Auerbach and the Origin of Existential Realism

Jane O. Newman

This seminar takes seriously Auerbach's statement that "existential realism" lies at the core of Mimesis, and look for that realism's "origin" in the theo-philosophical apparatus of the book as well as in a selection of the texts about which he writes. Theories of Realism and existence are also explored. Students gain an overview of Auerbach reception to date and challenge some of the ways his work has been read as only concerned with a Eurocentric canon or as an expression of a post-colonial habitus. In final work for the course, students investigate the "existential realism" of a text, film, or image in their own field.

Sample reading list:
Erich Auerbach, Mimesis The Representation of Reality in Western Literature
Erich Auerbach, Time, History, and Literature. Selected Essays
Augustine, The Confessions
Dante, Inferno
Schiller, Intrigue and Love (Kabbale und Liebe
Vico, The New Science
See instructor for complete list

Reading/Writing assignments:
Please read Mimesis once through before the semester begins. We will read it a second time in the first half of the seminar alongside important earlier readings and a series of contemporary companion texts (Heidegger, Bultmann, Löwith); in the second half of the seminar, we will return to select chapters a third time in the company of the texts Auerbach discusses there (Augustine, Dante, etc.)

Paper in lieu of Final - 40%
Oral Presentation(s) - 25%
Class/Precept Participation - 35%

Other information:
Contact the instructor (Jane O. Newman, UC Irvine -- for more information.

Schedule/Classroom assignment:

Class numberSectionTimeDaysRoomEnrollmentStatus
42233 S01 01:30:00 pm - 04:20:00 pm Th   East Pyne Building   205   Enrolled:9 Limit:15