EAST WEST MIMESIS AUERBACH IN TURKEY PDF

Leaving behind the life he cared about, Erich Auerbach arrived in Istanbul late in the summer of No one remembers whether he came by ship or by train, but had he taken the northerly route, he would have come on the Orient Express, passing through Austria, Hungary, Romania, and Bulgaria. Already, there were Nazi uniforms on station platforms in Munich, as well as other, more heartening sights— peasants beginning their harvest, the Jewish quarter in Budapest, and the medieval architecture of Bucharest. During the three-day journey eastward, the Prus sian scholar might have wondered at what point Europe ceased to be Europe and the familiar no longer spelled home. But perhaps Auerbach sailed via Italy and Greece, the cradle of classical Europe.

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By Kader Konuk. We have imagined him, the European Jewish philologist, sitting out the war in Istanbul, stripped of his colleagues and his library, working from memory to shape a history of Western literary realism. As Kader Konuk shows in his detailed and pointedly argued new book, East West Mimesis: Auerbach in Turkey , this statement, and the scholarly romance it has engendered, is largely untrue.

The library held a respectable collection of literatures and scholarship in European languages. The city, too, had bookshops catering to European readers, and it had, as well, a Dominican monastery with a rich collection of patristic materials. It shows, in great detail, the influx of European academics into a burgeoning modern state. The book draws on archival material accessible only to those who can read Turkish. Hence, I show how the trope of detachment, central to the aesthetics of modernism, came to assume a different meaning after the onset of mass emigration in In these ways, East West Mimesis moves beyond a biography of Auerbach or a narrative of his famous book.

It is a cultural history of Turkey and humanism, Istanbul and modernity, Arabs and Ottomans and Jews. One of the most illuminating sections of this book reveals the place of Jews in Turkish historical identity.

Istanbul had long had a Sephardic community, and Ottoman administrators had long used Jewish functionaries as administrative personnel. Konuk shows how these historical issues were reshaped during the s, in particular, into discourses about authenticity. Konuk draws on archival documents and personal letters to reveal the complex relationships among Germans, Jews, and Turks. Watching the German ambassador to Turkey refuse to shake the hand of the Jewish violinist Licco Amar after a performance in , Spitzer wrote a passionate letter to the German vice-consul.

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East-West Mimesis: Auerbach in Turkey

East West Mimesis follows the plight of German-Jewish humanists who escaped Nazi persecution by seeking exile in a Muslim-dominated society. Kader Konuk asks why philologists like Erich Auerbach found humanism at home in Istanbul at the very moment it was banished from Europe. By making literary critical concepts productive for our understanding of Turkish cultural history, the book provides a new approach to the study of East-West relations. Konuk draws on some of Auerbach's key concepts—figura as a way of conceptualizing history and mimesis as a means of representing reality—to show how Istanbul shaped Mimesis and to understand Turkey's humanist reform movement as a type of cultural mimesis.

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East West Mimesis: Auerbach in Turkey

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East West Mimesis follows the plight of German-Jewish humanists who escaped Nazi persecution by seeking exile in a Muslim-dominated society. Kader Konuk asks why philologists like Erich Auerbach found humanism at home in Istanbul at the very moment it was banished from Europe. By making literary critical concepts productive for our understanding of Turkish cultural history, the book provides a new approach to the study of East-West relations. Konuk draws on some of Auerbach's key concepts— figura as a way of conceptualizing history and mimesis as a means of representing reality—to show how Istanbul shaped Mimesis and to understand Turkey's humanist reform movement as a type of cultural mimesis. Her work poses a significant challenge to persistent beliefs about the 'backwardness' and 'Orientalness' of modern Turkey, revealing that Turkey has never been properly understood in the context of the Orientalism debate. Immensely readable and engaging, her book is distinguished by extensive archival research into a pivotal phase of modern Turkish cultural history, yielding rich insights into how this period of transformation impacted Auerbach's groundbreaking work of modern comparatism.

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