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Carl E. Schorske Memorial Lecture: Auerbach, Homer, Sebald: Hypotactic Narrative and the End of the World

Daniel Mendelsohn, Bard College

April 20, 2021 · 4:30 pm · Zoom

Program in European Cultural Studies; Humanities Council

This year’s  Carl E. Schorske Memorial Lecture will be delivered by Daniel Mendelsohn (Bard College). He will ponder Erich Auerbach’s theories of narrative, focusing in particular on the great German-Jewish philologist’s comparison between Homeric and Biblical narrative style in the first chapter of Mimesis. In this lecture, Mendelsohn examines the novels of W. G. Sebald in order to tease out some implications of Auerbach’s exaltation of hypotactic over paratactic narrative, which is evident throughout Mimesis—except, curiously, in that first chapter. If hypotaxis is, as Auerbach suggests, a hallmark of literary sophistication and cultural superiority, what would he make of Sebald’s work, in which an excessive, even uncontrollable hypotaxis seems intended to mark the end of both meaning and history?

Open to the public. Registration is required: https://princeton.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJIuf-GhrTovHNJ_xj2oniOp17SNo4Gptd_n

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