Marva J Dawn, Reaching Out Without Dumbing Down: A Theology of Worship for This Urgent Time, Grand Rapids MI, Eerdmans, 1995.

Marva Dawn (Gersmehl…the surname Dawn is a pseudonym) is a Lutheran evangelical theologian, musician, teacher (formerly at Regent College Vancouver) and world renowned speaker, now retired. She has written many works across a range of practical and theological issues. This book is the theological foundation for her shorter and more concise 2003 book How Shall We Worship: Biblical Guidelines for the Worship Wars. (reviewed in this blog under “Books read February – April 2017”.  Dawn’s remarkable academic output and public career is the more impressive given her massive medical difficulties which include nerve damage, cancer and near blindness at times. (summarised on p93 of this book).

This book was written in response to the late C20th rise of the megachurch in the USA and around the evangelical world based largely on “contemporary” (a disputed term in this text) music, non-liturgical worship, and often with a “star preacher” headlining.

Parts 1 and 11 consist of a cultural and sociological analysis of the American baby boomers from the revolution of the 1960s, through modernism,  to the late C20th development of the postmodernism ‘revolution’. The analysis owes a considerable debt to Jacques Ellul’s critique of technology (the subject of Dawn’s doctoral thesis), Neil Postman’s influential Amusing Ourselves to Death, Christopher Lasch’s The Culture of Narcissism and the theological critique of evangelicalism by David Wells entitled, No Place for Truth; or, Whatever Happened to Evangelical Theology?, a conversation which has perhaps since been overtaken by Mark Noll and Andreas Köstenberger. Read today twenty years later this section with its heavy emphasis on the evils of television (Dawn has never owned one) reads a little datedly in our current world of Facebook, instagram,twitter, podcasts, powerful video recording systems, streaming devices and digital photography and short film making to name just a few current obsessions.

Parts 111, IV.8 are a sustained analysis of the culture of and in much contemporary worship and music. Dawn works hard at neutrality and freely admits her own biases towards liturgical worship nevertheless these sections are a celebration of the whole history of good church music ancient and modern. Enthusiasts for contemporary worship are right in seeking to reach out to persons in the culture around us and in rejecting tradition that has grown stale. Those who value the Church’s worship heritage are right to question the faithfulness and integrity of many contemporary worship forms and to seek a noticeable difference in worship that underscores the Church’s countercultural emphasis. (p93).

A key element in her analysis is the place of emotion in worship.  She writes helpfully..Since feelings are so easily swayed by the circumstances of the moment, they cannot be a reliable guide for knowing God. Yet they are important for our response to God and cannot be repressed, ignored or forced. (p70). On the same page Dawn admits to overemphasizing “the thought side of the dialectic… For someone like me, dramatically influenced by key emotional moments in my spiritual journey [ e.g. standing up, at age 8, for Christ on the MCG in 1956 following a call from Billy Graham; mass corporate singing at Belgrave Heights Convention at age 15, campfire singing on the Seaspray beach at beach mission team meetings at age 17; evangelical worship at Evangelical Union national conferences during Melbourne University days; deeply moving Hillsong type music at Berwick Anglican Church today ], Dawn’s continuing critique of “dumbing down” and “narcissism” on the issue of emotion becomes somewhat repetitive. I cannot imagine my religious life without a deep and ongoing expression of my love for God in song. Having said this I often wonder how such an emphasis on music in much evangelical worship today goes down with folk who are tone deaf or for other reasons don’t like singing out loud. So much of worship is inevitably personal especially when it comes to music! And this personal attachment to certain forms of music is the cause of substantial heated discussion in many church congregations today.

One area I felt was missing from this discussion is the extent to which much high end orchestral and choral music is valued in worship e.g. cathedral worship, for its cultural worth rather than its spiritual value for the congregation. One particular example is that much choral work in, for example Australian Anglican cathedral worship services is so complex that the congregation is unable to participate in the responses.

Part IV.9,10 and Part V deals in some detail with the non-musical components of worship including the Bible and how it is used, liturgy, ritual and art as well as a detailed analysis of the  components of the sermon including children’s talks.  There is much here for both pastors and congregations to think through.

The Bibliography is helpful but I think the book would be stronger with a detailed index of topics as a vast amount of material is covered.  This is a very useful debate about worship today.  4 stars.

Colson Whitehead,  The Underground Railroad, London, Fleet, 2017

One of the most disturbing and uneasy novels I have read in a long-time. Reminiscent of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road  but instead of a dystopic future this novel reveals the terror and sadness of a recent past reaching into the present…it shines a light on white supremacists wherever they may be found in the US, Australia or central Europe. A fiction but based on newspaper advertisements and records of genuine Southern US slavery victims and runaways the novel leaves one with a sense of desperation that human values and behaviour will never amount to very much. One reviewer suggests the novel doesn’t send a message but it does to me. We can cover up humanity with glossy superficiality and first world luxury but deep down the human condition is broken from within and the brokenness needs a power and spirit beyond the human to transform it. Great literature challenges and humanises. This new novel is moving in that direction and I hope it commands a wide audience.  Five stars.

Erich Auerbach, Mimesis: The Representation of Reality in Western Literature, translated (brilliantly) by Willard R Trask, Introduction by ( equally brilliant cultural theorist) Edward, W Said,  Princeton and Oxford, Princeton University Press, 2013 (written during WW11 in Istanbul and first published in Switzerland, 1946).

For a literature buff, this is a towering and mesmerising 574 pages of brilliant literary analysis of the European canon from Homer to Virginia Woolf! Auerbach was a German Jewish academic expelled from Germany by the Nazis in 1935. He taught Romance languages in Istanbul until the late 1940s before emigrating to the United States and teaching in Princeton and Pennsylvania State University before finishing his career as Sterling Professor of Romance Philology at Yale. Auerbach fought for Germany in World War 1, had qualifications in both Law and Romance languages at doctoral level and demonstrates a deep knowledge down to philological level of Greek, Latin, Provençal, German, French, English, Italian and Spanish languages and literature. In addition he evidences a thorough knowledge and understanding of both the Jewish and Christian scriptures and is comfortable dealing in depth with the Western philosophical canon. At one point Auerbach came particularly under the spell of the Persian poet Hafiz and wrote verses in his style. In particular he had a lifelong interest in the C18th Neapolitan philosopher, rhetorician, historian and Professor of Latin eloquence and jurisprudence, Giambattista Vico. Vico’s influence is clearly seen in Auerbach’s interest in what came to be called “historism”. Historism approaches all ideas and arguments in literature, religion, the law and the arts based on their historical context and not on any predetermined laws or theories.

Auerbach is a polymath to be reckoned with and, even more delightfully, he analyses literary texts with a deep historical and philosophic concern certainly, but without the paralyzing late C20th straightjacket of feminist, race, structuralist, post-modern or queer theory rule books! Each text to be analyzed commences with a healthy chunk of the original in its original language followed by an excellent translation (sometimes aided by other scholars).  One challenge for the reader is that in each chapter, while large paragraphs of material are translated,  single sentences and phrases in Latin, French and German are not always translated which takes additional time for the less multilingual reader!

“Mimesis” (μιμησις ) is a classical Greek term meaning representation, imitation or mimicry.  Auerbach uses the term in this text to mean “representation’ and one of his key judgments about the literature analysed is the extent to which the literature represents normal human reality..especially that of the “average” person rather than the literary preoccupation with leaders, the highest level of society, royalty, rulers, heroes, statesmen etc. [Luckily for Auerbach he did not have to deal too much with the current passion for fantasy literature, let alone magic realism!]  Interestingly Auerbach struggles to find the reality of the “ordinary man” much before the late C19th and C20th.

Mimesis looks in detail at texts by Homer, The Old and New Testament, Petronius, Tacitus, C4th historian Ammianus Marcellinus, Apuleius, Jerome, Augustine, Gregory of Tours,  The Song of Roland, Chréttien de Troyes’ (Yvain), C12th Mediaeval Mystery play ( Mystère d’Adam), Bernard of Clairveaux St Francis of Assisi (letters), Dante [and mediaeval commentators Pietro Alighieri and Jacobo della Lana), Boccaccio, Antoine De La Salle (C15th knight, soldier, tutor of Princes (Le Réconfort de Madame du Fresne), Rabelais, Montaigne, Shakespeare, Cervantes, Molière, La Bruyère, Racine, Basset, Victor Hugo, Corneille, Abbé Prévost (Manon Lescaut); Voltaire; Montesqieu; Diderot; Rousseau; Voltaire; Louis, duc de Saint-Simon, Schiller, Goethe, Stendhal, Balzac, Flaubert, Dickens, Thackeray, Edmond and Jules de Goncourt (Germinie Lacerteux), Beaudelaire, Zola, Burckhardt, Fontane, NIetzsche, Ibsen, Gogol, Turgenev, Tolstoy, Doestoevski, Virginia Woolf, Proust, Huysman, Joyce, Thomas Mann, Gide, knut Hamsun.

Of course there are gaps, inevitably so. Many will regard the British writers as poorly done by, certainly Said thinks so.  We look in vain for Trollope, the Brontes,  George Eliot, Jane Austen, Thomas Hardy or D H Lawrence; Conrad also is missing. On the other hand we are introduced to texts that most of us have rarely looked at let alone carefully analysed.

In the final analysis this is a deeply moral and religious book.  Auerbach has a deep knowledge of the Bible, Christian theology and Church History. But, as with C S Lewis’s criticism of English Literature, Auerbach does not let his Jewish and Christian background and reading vitiate his explication and appraisal of the Western literary canon. Auerbach  concludes that it was the story of Christ, with its ruthless mixture of everyday reality and the highest and most sublime tragedy, which conquered the classical ‘rule of styles’ in the Middle Ages, and contrasts this with the achievements of modern Realism. [in M Drabble, Ed., “Auerbach, Erich” in The Oxford Companion to English Literature, Oxford, OUP, 1997.] 5 stars and rising!

There are many gems in Auerbach as well as  Said’s introduction. Some examples: [Auerbach’s recognition and] stern condemnation of Goethe’s dislike of upheaval and even of change itself, his interest in aristocratic culture, his deep-seated wish to be rid of the “revolutionary occurrences” taking place all over Europe, and his inability to understand the flow of popular history. Auerbach was discussing no mere failure of perception but a profound wrong turn in German culture as a whole that led to the horrors of the present.[ie Nazism] Said: Introduction p. xxxix.

Auerbach: p15. The Bible stories seek to subject us, and if we refuse to be subjected we are rebels….doctrine and the search for enlightenment are inextricably connected with the physical side of the [Biblical] narrative.

 p89. An amazing description of the style, aim and purpose of classical Latin. On p119 Auerbach tracks the development of Christian narrative into dogma. P120. the decline of the culture of antiquity…Christianity was drawn into this rigidification.. p121 the literature only deals with the top strata of society….in the late antique world the heroic epic is history. p134 Coutesie became a personal and absolute ideal.  [in the work of Chrétien de Troyes]…in the Arthurian Cycle ..courtly life and adventure developed the doctrine of personal perfection. At the same time came the influence of Victorine and Cistercian mysticism.

p151..the simple reality in the mediaeval morality play. P167: the contents of the letters of St Francis is the doctrine. p190ff brilliant analysis of Dante’s Divine Comedy. [With Shakespeare]…the drama of Christ is no longer the central drama—-the way is open for an autonomously human tragedy. p.72 Re Augustine..Equally at home in the world of classical rhetoric and in that of the Judaeo-Christian tradition, he may well have been the first to become conscious of the problem of the stylistic contrast between the two worlds…p75 Almost everything which Augustine himself adds to the Biblical account [in The City of God] serves to explain the historical situation in rational terms and to reconcile the figural interpretation with the conception of an uninterrupted historical sequence of events.

 p.89 re Gregory of Tours: Undoubtedly the rhythm and the atmosphere of the Bible, especially of the New Testament, are always present in Gregory’s mind and help to determine his style…p92 re Gregory of Tours:  A churchman, practically concerned with the life of men, cannot separate these realms. He encounters human tragedy every day in the mixed, random material of life. p93 Gregory of Tours again: But why should I be ashamed of my lack of culture, if our Lord and Redeemer, to destroy the vanity of worldly wisdom, chose not orators but fishermen, not philosophers but peasants?

p111-2..Re the Chanson de Roland and the Chanson d’Alexis… the subject…is narrow…all the categories of this life and the next are unambiguous, immutable, fixed in rigid formulations. This rigid style is contrasted with …The mere fact that the most famous German epics, from the Hildebrandislied to the Nibelungenlied, derive their historical setting from the wild and spacious epoch of the tribal migrations rather than from the solidly established structure of the age of feudalism, gives them greater breadth and freedom. The Germanic themes of the age of the migrations did not reach Gallo-Roman territory, or at least they could not strike root there. And Christianity has almost no significance at all for the Germanic heroic epic.

p154f…The mediaeval mystery plays, like the spiritual teachings of Augustine and Bernard of Clairvaux …describe the type of comprehension [of the Biblical story, especially meditation on Christ’s life and passion] which is open to the humble and simple…and the complete transformation into mysticism is to be found in Bernard….Auerbach comments on a passage [in Latin] from Bernard: Several thoughts in complex interdependence are expressed in these passages: that Holy Scripture favours those whose hearts are simple and filled with faith; that such a heart is a prerequisite to “sharing” in it, for sharing and not a purely rational understanding is what it seeks to offer…not couched in an “elevated style, but in simple words, so that anyone can ascend  quasi gradatim, from the simple to the sublime and divine…the mediaeval Christian drama falls perfectly within this tradition…it opens its arms invitingly to receive the simple and untutored and to lead them from the concrete, the everyday, to the hidden and the true—precisely as did that great plastic art of the mediaeval churches…

p194: Dante’s elevated style consists precisely in integrating what is characteristically individual and at times horrible, ugly, grotesque, and vulgar with the dignity of God’s judgment— a dignity which transcends the ultimate limits of our earthly conception of the sublime….For all of creation is a constant reduplication and emanation of the active love of God….the goal of the process of salvation, the white rose in the Empyrean, the community of the elect in God’s no longer veiled presence, is not only a certain hope for the future but is from all eternity perfect in God and prefigured for men, as Christ is in Adam.

p195 …the universal Roman monarchy….is in Dante’s view the concrete, earthly manifestation of the Kingdom of God….Just as the Judaeo-Christian method of interpretation referred to in the Old Testament by Paul and the Church Fathers, conceives of Adam as a figure of Christ, of Eve as a figure of the Church, just as generally speaking every event and every phenomenon referred to in the Old Testament is conceived  as a figure which only the phenomena and events of Christ’s Incarnation can completely realise or “fulfill’ (to use the conventional expression), so the universal Roman Empire here appears as an earthly figure of heavenly fulfillment in the Kingdom of God.

p196 The Church Fathers, especially Tertullian, Jerome and Augustine, had successfully defended figural realism, that is, the maintenance of the basic historical reality of figures, against all attempts at spiritually allegorical interpretation…This figural realism dominates Dante’s view.

p197 …the particular way in which [Dante’s] realistic genius achieved form, we explain through the figural point of view. This enables us to understand that the beyond is eternal yet phenomenal; that it is changeless and of all time and yet full of history. It also enables us to show in what way this realism in the beyond is distinguished from every type of purely earthly realism.

p198 Dante acknowledges a debt to Virgil: “Thou alone art he to whom I owe the beautiful style which has done me honour.”

p199 never before…has so much art and so much expressive power been employed to produce an almost painfully immediate expression of the earthly reality of human beings. It was precisely the Christian idea of the indestructibility of the entire human individual which made this possible for Dante.

p200 producing this effect with such power and so much realism..[Dante] opened the way for that aspiration toward autonomy which possesses all earthly existence. In the very heart of the other world, he created a world of earthly beings and passions so powerful that it breaks bounds and proclaims its independence…a doctrine of salvation in which the eternal destiny depends upon grace and repentance can no more dispense with such figures in Hell that it can with virtuous pagans in Limbo.

p217 Re Boccaccio: …the more mature he grows, the stronger become the competing bourgeois and humanist factors and especially his mastery of what is robust and popular…despite his occasional attempts to reach out for something more, he remains within the limits of the intermediate style…which…is designated for the representation of sensual love. cf p224 …of the figural-Christian conception which pervaded Dante’s imitation of the earthly and human world and which gave it power and depth, no trace is to be found in Boccaccio’s book. Boccaccio’s characters live on earth and only on earth. cf p225 ..considering that the preachments made of friars, to rebuke men of their sins, are nowadays for the most part seen full of quips and cranks and jibes, I consider that these latter would not sit amiss in my stories written to ease women of melancholy. p226 [Boccaccio’s] ethics of love is a recasting of courtly love, tuned several degrees lower in the scale of style, and concerned exclusively with the sensual and the real. p227 “The Decameron” develops a distinct, thoroughly practical and secular ethical code rooted in the right to love, an ethics which in its very essence is anti-Christian. It is presented with much grace and without any strong claim to doctrinal validity. The book rarely abandons the stylistic level of light entertainment.

p242 re Antoine De La Salle…his language is a class language; and everything determined by class is non-humanist. cf p243 ..The mixture of heavily pompous language with the naïveté of enumeration in composition produces an impression of dragging and ponderous monotony in tempo which is not without its peculiar magnificence. It is a variety of the elevated style; but it is class-determined, it is non-humanist, nonclassical, and entirely mediaeval

p249 …of essential importance for late mediaeval realism—the very point which induced me to to employ in this chapter the new term “creatural.” It is characteristic of Christian anthropology from its beginnings that it emphasises man’s subjection to suffering and transitoriness. This was a necessary concomitant of the idea of Christ’s Passion as part of the story of salvation. Yet during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries the corresponding devaluation and denigration of earthly existence had not reached the extreme which characterizes the era here under discussion…Dante is an example of a man for whom (as for many of his contemporaries) secular planning and political endeavour on the part of individuals and human society at large was highly significant, ethically relevant, and decisive for eternal salvation. cf p250 [By the end of the Middle Ages]…the more prevailing attitude is that which, in the creatural character of man, reads only the fruitlessness and vanity of all earthly endeavour. For many in the countries north of the Alps, consciousness of their own predestined decay with that of all their works has a paralyzing effect upon intellectual endeavour insofar as its purpose is to make practical plans concerned with the future of life in this world…[such action] seems to them without value and without dignity…  a mere play of instincts and passions. cf. p260 The realism of the Franco-Burgundian of the fifteenth century is then, narrow and mediaeval. It has no new attitudes which might reshape the world of earthly realities and it is hardly aware that the mediaeval categories are losing their power….in breadth of vision, refinement of language and formative power it is far inferior to what the Italian late mediaeval and early humanist flowering had produced a full century earlier in Dante and Boccaccio.

p269 Re Rabelais’ fantastical tales of whole countries being explored inside the mouth of the giants Gargantua and Pantagruel lies… an entirely different theme—the theme of the discovery of a new world, with all the astonishment, the widening horizons and change in the world picture, which follow upon such a discovery…This is one of the great motifs of the Renaissance and of the two following centuries, one of the themes which served as levers toward political, religious, economic, and philsophic revolution. cf p270 …we must not forget that Rabelais first called the country of his giants Utopia, a name which he borrowed from Thomas More’s book, which had appeared sixteen years earlier, and that More—to whom, of all his contemporaries, Rabelais perhaps owed the most.. p271 [In the midst of Rabelais’ grotesque-comic and popular style …there is matter-of-fact narrative, philosophic ideas flash out, and amid all the grotesque machinery rises the terrible creatural picture of the plague, when the dead are taken from the city by cartloads. This sort of mixture of styles was not invented by Rabelais. He of course adapted it to his temperament and his purposes, but, paradoxically, it stems from late mediaeval preaching, in which the Christian tradition exaggerated the mixture of styles to the utmost. These sermons are at once popular in the crudest way, creaturely realistic, and learned and edifying in their figural Biblical interpretation. From the spirit of late mediaeval preaching and above all from the atmosphere which surrounded the popular (in both the good and bad senses) mendicant orders, the humanists adopted this mixture of styles, especially for their anti-ecclesiasticals, polemical and satiric writings. cf p273 Rabelais’ multiplicity of images and examples include a superabundance of medical and humanistic erudition. cf p274 [Many of Rabelais’ characters are] are endowed with the crafty, idiomatic, and subtlee wit which is natural to almost all of Rabelais’ personages. p275 Rabelais’ jokes are as usual, stuffed with the most various and grotesque erudition.

p276 In my opinion, many critics miss the essential point when they make Rabelais’ divorce from Christian dogma the decisive factor in interpreting him. True, he is no longer a believer, in the ecclesiastical sense; but he is very far from taking a stance upon some form of disbelief, like a rationalist of later times. Nor is it permissible to draw any too far-reaching conclusions from his satire on Christian subjects, for the Middle Ages already offers examples of this which are not essentially different from Rabelais’ blasphemous joking. [eg even in the Mystery plays]. The revolution in his way of thinking is not his opposition to Christianity, but the freedom of vision, feeling and thought which his perpetual playing with things produces, and which invites the reader to deal directly with the world and its wealth of phenomena. …For him, the man who follows his nature is good, and natural life, be it of men or things is good. [Auerbach suggests this approach, contrary to the above paragraph, is anti-Christian, but I don’t agree with him …surely God created human nature and natural life to be good and in many ways it is good…It is triumphant earthly life which calls forth his realistic and super-realistic mimesis. And that is completely anti-Christian….I don’t agree that it is anti-Christian.

p277 [Rabelais] mingles complacent cunning, wit, and humanism, with an elementally pitiless cruelty which is perpetually flickering in the background…..the Christian unity of the cosmos, and the figural preservation of the earthly personality in the divine judgment, led to a very strong concept of the indestructible  permanence of the individual (most strongly evident in Dante…)..and this was first endangered when Christian unity and Christian immortality no longer dominated the European concept of the universe.  This is fair…without a sense of eternal existence and an ongoing human story, man does flounder..and nihilism is never very far away when God, purpose and spiritual formation is ignored.

p278 In Rabelais there is no aesthetic standard. Everything goes with everything. Ordinary reality is set within the most improbable fantasy, the coarsest jokes are filled with erudition, moral and philosophical enlightenment flows out of obscene expressions and stories.

p280 …for Rabelais, something close to buffoonery…in which, at the same time divine wisdom and perfect virtue are concealed. It is as much a style of life as a literary style; it is, as in Socrates, (and in Montaigne too), the expression of the man….a fruitful irony which confuses the customary aspects and proportions of things, which makes the real appear in the super-real, wisdom in folly, rebellion in a cheerful and flavourful acceptance of life; which, through the play of possibilities, casts a dawning light on the possibility of freedom. I consider it a mistake to probe Rabelais’ hidden meaning..for some definite and clearly outlined doctrine;  the thing which lies concealed in his work, yet which is conveyed in a thousand ways, is an intellectual attitude, which he himself calls Pantagruelism; a grasp of life, which allows none of life’s possibilities to escape. To describe it in more detail is not a wise undertaking—for one would immediately find oneself forced into competition with Rabelais. He himself is constantly describing it, and he can do it better than we can….wildly as the storm sometimes rages in his book, every line, every word, is strictly under control.

p284 In summary the style of Rabelais’ style expresses ces beaux livres de haulte grease. [“well-fattened books!]

p291 Re Montaigne, a man..who is alone with himself, finds enough life and as it were bodily warmth in his ideas to be able to write as though he were speaking….a faint note of proudly aristocratic contempt for the writer’s craft (si j’était fairer de livres);,,,an inclination to belittle his own particular approach.

p300 Montaigne’s intention to put himself as the primary centre of his writing and his claim that no one else has ever done this seems to imply that he was unaware of Augustine’s Confessions. Auerbach comments: is not possible that he should not have been aware at least of the existence and the character of this famous book. Perhaps he rather shrank from the comparison; perhaps it is a perfectly genuine and un-ironical modesty that prevents him from establishing a relationship between himself and his method and the most important of the Fathers….and yet there is no other earlier author from whom anything so basically important is preserved in Montaigne’s method as the consistent and unreserved self-investigation of Augustine.

p300  The full consciousness of one’s own life implies for Montaigne also full consciousness of one’s own death.

p301 …in his study of his own random life Montaigne’s sole aim is an investigation of the “humane condition” in general.

p302 …our knowledge of men and of his history depends upon the depth of our self-knowledge and the extent of our moral horizon….he cannot rid himself of a certain distrust of historians. He feels that they present human beings too exclusively in extraordinary and heroic situations  and that they are only too ready to give fixed and consistent portraits of character.

p303 [Montaigne] speaks about himself a great deal, and the reader becomes acquainted with all the details not only of his intellectual and spiritual life but also of his physical existence. A great deal of information about his most personal characteristics and habits, his illnesses, his food, and his sexual peculiarities, is scattered through the Essays.There is, to be sure, a certain self-satisfaction in all this. Montaigne is pleased with himself; he knows that he is in all respects a free, a richly gifted, a full, a remarkably well-rounded human being, and despite all his self-irony he cannot completely conceal this delight in his his own person. But it is a calm and self-rooted consciousness  of his individual self, free from pettiness, arrogance, insecurity, and coquetry.

p304 [Montaigne dislikes] formal systems of moral philosophy….their abstraction, the tendency of their methodology to disguise the reality of life, and the turgidity of their terminology…[above all]..their separation of mind and body and do not give the latter a chance to have its say….They all..have too high an opinion of man; they speak of him as if he were only mind and spirit…..the most important passages on this point are those which reveal the Christian creatural sources of his view….ils sçavent que la justice divine embrace sette société et joincture du corps et de l’âme, jusques à rendre le corps capable des recompenses eternalise…the question of his religious profession—which, by the way, I consider an idle question—has nothing to do with the observation that the roots of his realistic conception of man are to be found in the Christian-creatural tradition.

p304 [Montaigne’s] ..malice against the erudite expert and against specialisation requires some comment, …derived from the general Renaissance Humanist generally educated nobility class and the new found educated bourgeoisie which … soon resulted a sort of contempt for professional specialization. The scholar committed to a particular discipline…was considered comic, inferior, and plebeian.

p310 [For Montaigne] …Life on earth is no longer the figure of the life beyond; he can no longer permit himself to scorn and neglect the here for the sake of a there. Life on earth is the only one he has. He wants to savour it to the last drop:…it entails first of all emancipating oneself from everything that might waste or hinder the enjoyment of life, that might divert the living man’s attention from himself.

p311 …His irony, his dislike of big words, his calm way of being profoundly at ease with himself, prevent him from pushing on beyond the limits of the problematic and into the realm of the tragic, which is already unmistakeably apparent in let us say the work of Michelangelo, and which, during the generation following Montaigne’s, is to break through in literary form in several places in Europe.

p313  …Shakespeare’s work became the ideal and the example for all movements of revolt against the strict separation of styles in French classicism.

p317  …the Christian figural view of human life was opposed to a development of the tragic. However serious the events of earthly existence might be, high above them stood the towering and all-embracing dignity of a single event, the appearance of Christ, and everything tragic was but figure or reflection of a single complex of events, into which it necessarily flowed at last…this implies a transposition of the centre of gravity from life on earth into a life beyond, with the result that no tragedy ever reached its conclusion here below.

p318 …in the course of the sixteenth century, the Christian-figural schema lost its hold in almost all parts of Europe. The issue into the beyond, although it was totally abandoned only in rare instances, lost in certainty and unmistakability….In Elizabethan tragedy on the other hand—the first specifically modern form of the tragedy—the hero’s individual character plays a much greater part in shaping his destiny.

p319 …in Elizabethan tragedy and specifically in Shakespeare, the hero’s character is depicted in greater and more varied detail than in antique tragedy, and participated more actively in shaping the individual’s fate.

p320 …In Elizabethan tragedy we are in most cases confronted with not with purely natural character but with character already formed by birth, situation in life, and prehistory (that is, by fate)… 

p320 …the sixteenth century had attained a comparatively high level of historical consciousness and  historical perspective…

p321-2…In addition there is in the sixteenth century the effect of the great discoveries which abruptly widened the cultural and geographic horizon and hence also men’s conception of possible forms of human life….The world of realities in which men live is changed; it grows broader, richer in possibilities, limitless….a freer consciousness embracing an unlimited world.

p323 Shakespeare’s dramatic economy is prodigally lavish; it bears witness to his delight in rendering the most varied phenomena of life, and this delight in turn is inspired by the concept that the cosmos is everywhere interdependent so that every chord of human destiny arouses a multitude of voices to parallel or contrary motion….the drama of Christ is no longer the general drama…the new dramatized history has a specific human action at its centre….the road has been opened for an autonomously human tragedy..

p324 …The dissolution of mediaeval Christianity…brings out a dynamic need for self-orientation, a will to trace the secret forces of life….an immense system of sympathy seems to pervade the universe….In Shakespeare’s work the liberated forces show themselves as fully developed yet still permeated with the entire ethical wealth of the past. Not much later the restrictive countermovements gained the upper hand. Protestantism and the Counter Reformation, absolutistic ordering of society, and intellectual life, academic and puristic imitation of antiquity, rationalism an scientific empiricism, all operated together to prevent Shakespeare’s freedom in the tragic from continuing to develop after him.

To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow

Creeps in this petty pace from day to day

To the last syllable of recorded time;

And all our yesterdays have lighted fools

The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!

Life’s but a walking shadow; a poor player,

That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,

And then is heard no more: it is a tale

Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,

Signifying nothing…  [Macbeth]

…we are such stuff

As dreams are made of, and our little life

Is rounded with a sleep.

[The Tempest]

p346.  [Cervantes: Don Quijote]  In his tragic/comic novel [Cervantes] ..has no idea of making a basic attack on the established legal order. He is neither an anarchist nor a prophet of the Kingdom of God……I think it wholly erroneous to look for a matter of principle here, for anything like a conflict between natural Christian and positive law. For such a conflict, moreover, an opponent would have to appear, someone like the Grand Inquisitor in Dostoevski…

p347  Don Quijote preserves a natural dignity and superiority which for his many miserable failures cannot harm…do we hear wisdom speak through madness in his case as we do with Shakespeare’s fools or with Charlie Chaplin? No, that is not it either….He is wise and kind independently of his madness…

p355…It is not a philosophy; it is no didactic purpose; it is not even a being stirred by the uncertainty of human existence or by the power of destiny, as in the case of Montaigne and Shakespeare. It is an attitude—an attitude toward the world, and hence also toward the subject matter of his art—-in which bravery and equaninimity play a major part. Together with the delight he takes in the multirfariousness of his sensory play there is in him a certain Southern reticence and pride. This prevents him from taking the play very seriously. He looks at it; he shapes it; he finds it diverting; it is also intended to afford the reader refined intellectual diversion.

p358  [Cervantes] …This is the function of Quijote’s madness.…[in] Cervantes’ imagination, he also perceived a vision of how, confronted with such madness, contemporary reality might be portrayed…that it is a heroic and idealised form of madness, that it leaves room for wisdom and humanity, was no doubt equally pleasing to him…So universal and multilayered, so noncritical and nonprobematic a gaiety the portrayal of everyday reality has not been attempted again in European letters. I cannot imagine where or when it might have been attempted.

p386 C17th French classical theatrical tragedy (Racine/Molière/Corneille) withdraws the physical aspects of courtly love present in Greek and Roman tragedy and took over the sublime conception of love which the Middle Ages had developed in courtly culture, not without the culture of mysticism, and which Petrarchism had carried still further. Already in Corneille it is a tragic and sublime motif..and Racine gives it the overwhelming power which precipitates men from their courses and annihilates them. But in all this there is hardly a trace of the physical and the sexual, which the taste of the time considered base and improper.

p393  [In classical C17th tragic drama] the antique model is transcended, and the result is a sharp break with the millennial popular and Christian tradition of mixed styles. The exaggerated tragic character  (ma gloire) and the extreme cult of the passions are actually anti-Christian.This is a point which the theologians of the age who condemned the theatre had understood very clearly, especially Nicole and Bossuet.  Eg Bosuett: Maximes et Réflexions sur La Comédie: “Thus a poet’s entire design, the entire aim of his labours, is that we, like his hero, should be in love with beautiful women, that we should serve them as if they were divinities; in a word, that we should sacrifice all to them, unless perhaps it be honour, the love of which is even more dangerous that love of beauty.”

p398 Re C18th French literature: e.g. the Abbé Prévost (the story of Manon Lescaut). The intimately erotic in descriptions and allusions becomes very much the fashion from the Regency on. All through the century we find motifs of this kind in literature (and not only in erotic literature in the strict sense).

p399 During the classical epoch, in the days of Louis XIV, this form of eroticism does not even exist in comedy. Molière is never lewd. Now erotic and sentimental intimacy are fused and the erotic element appears even in the anecdotes produced by the philosophic and scientific Enlightenment.

p401-2 Quite different is the stylistic level of the realistic texts which serve the propaganda purposes of the Enlightenment…in the course of the [18th] century they become more frequent and increasingly aggressive polemically. e.g. the Philosophic Letters of Voltaire…it is the unexpected contrast of religion and business, in which business is placed higher, practically and morally, than religion.

p407-8 A specifically Voltairian feature is the swift tempo, which never becomes unaesthetic despite the author’s boldness, not to say unscrupulousness, in moral matters and his technique of sophistic surprise attacks. He is completely free from the half-erotic and hence somewhat hazy sentimentality which we have tried to demonstrate in our analysis of the text from ‘Manon Lescaut’. His unmasking in the spirit of the Enlightenment are never crude and clumsy; on the contrary they are light, agile, and as it were appetising. And above all, he is free from the cloudy, contour-blurring, overemotional rhetoric, equally destructive of clear thinking and pure feeling, which came to the fore in the authors of the Enlightenment during the second half of the century and in the literature of the Revolution, which had a still more luxuriant growth in the nineteenth century through the influence of romanticism, and which has continued its loathsome flowers down to our day. 

p408  …that Voltaire [in Candide] in no way does justice to Leibniz’s argument and in general to the idea of a metaphysical harmony of the universe, especially since so entertaining a piece as Voltaire’s novel finds many more readers than the difficult essays of his philosophical opponents, which cannot be understood without serious study. Indeed, even the observation that the supposed reality of experience which Voltaire builds up does not correspond to experience at all, that it has been artfully adjusted to his polemic purpose, must have escaped most contemporary readers, of if not, they would not have made much of it.

p410-11 ..Basically [Voltaire] is a moralist; and, especially in his historical writings, there are human portraits in which the individuality comes out clearly. But he is always inclined to simplify…the role of sole standard of judgment is assigned to sound, practical common sense…everything historical and spiritual he despises and neglects. This has to do with the active and courageous spirit with which the protagonists of Enlightenment were filled. They set out to rid human society of everything that impeded the progress of reason. Such impediments were obviously to be seen in the religious, political, and economic actualities  which had grown up historically, irrationally, in contradiction to common sense and had finally become an inextricable maze. What seemed required was not to understand and justify them but to discredit them.

p411 Tragedy itself becomes more colourful and clever with Voltaire, but it loses weight. But in its stead the intermediate genres, such as the novel and the narrative in verse, begin to flourish, and between tragedy and comedy we now have the intermediate ‘comédie larmoyante’. [“weeping”, tearful”]

p413 [Even writing about his own impending death, Voltaire]..refuses to let one’s own sombre emotions become a burden to anyone else; there is the didactic ethos which characterised the great men of the Enlightenment and which made them able to use their last breath to formulate some new idea wittily and pleasingly.

p433 Of a basic historical theory of the kind postulated by Historism, whose first manifestation began to be perceptible just at Louis, Duc de Saint-Simon was writing his memoirs, there is yet no trace in him. The individualism of his representation is limited to individual human beings; historical forces in a super individual and yet personalised sense are not within his range of vision….The purpose of the historian as he formulates it, is entirely moralising and didactic in the pre-historistic sense. But the multifariousness of the reality in which he lived and which inspired his genius made him go far beyond it.

p437 C18th German literature eg Schiller (Luise Millrun,  1782-3) and Goethe have nothing about them to remind us of the heroic exaltation, the aloofness from the everyday, which characterised French tragedy of the great period…the sentimental middle-class novel and the middle-class tragedy (comédie larmoyante) had evolved long before in England and France….In Germany …the evolution of middle-class realism assumed exceptionally vigorous forms. The influence of Shakespeare joined forces with that of Diderot and Rousseau; the narrow and disrupted domestic conditions furnished arresting subjects; works were produced which were at once sentimental, narrowly middle-class, realistic and revolutionary.  Eg Lessing: Miss Sara Sampson; Minna von Barnhelm; Emilia Galotti.

p438  The final connection of sentimental middle-class realism with idealistic politics an concern for human rights was not established until the Sturm and Drang period. Traces of it are to be found in almost all the authors of this latter generation: in Goethe, Heinrich Leopold Wagner,  Lenz, Leisewitz, Klinger, even in Heinrich Voss.

p441 the Western European beginnings of the novel of manners and of the comédie larmoyante, love reestablished contact with the ordinary reality of life, but lost some of his dignity in the process. It became clearly erotic and at the same time touching and sentimental. It was in this form that the revolutionaries of the Sturm and Drang seized upon it, and following Rousseau’s footsteps, again gave it the highest tragic dignity, without abandoning any of its bourgeois , realistic, and sentimental elements.

p442 Schiller presents his characters with hair-raising rhetorical pathos…this is not realism, it is melodrama…

p445 Contemporary conditions in Germany did not easily lend themselves to broad realistic treatment. The social picture was heterogeneous; the general life was conducted in the confused setting of a host of “historical territories,” units which had come into existence through dynastic and political contingencies.

p446 [The French Revolution ] aroused horror and revulsion in the majority of outstanding Germans, [and] …encountered a passive,defensive, and irresponsive Germany. And it was not only the imperilled powers of the past which met the Revolution in a hostile spirit, it was also the youthful German intellectual movement. And here we find Goethe….Goethe turns to generalities and ethical principles, sometimes in a disgruntled mood, sometimes in a spirit of cheerfully pessimistic worldly and political wisdom.  

p447 Goethe adopted a selective approach to history e.g. commenting on the history of Florence under Lorenzo the Magnificent.: Had Lorenzo lived longer, and could a progressive, gradual development of the situation as laid down have taken place, the history of Florence would represent one of the most beautiful of phenomena; but it would seem that in the course of earthly things we shall but seldom experience the fulfilment of beautiful possibilities….For [Goethe], the fulfilment of beautiful possibilities” lies entirely in the flowering of aristocratic cultures in which significant individuals can develop unimpeded, and the principle of order which is present to his mind in such connections is comparatively eudaemonistic. 

p450  ….[the bourgeois]…must develop specific skills  to make himself useful, and it is taken for granted beforehand that his nature is not and should not possess harmony, because in order to make himself useful in one way, he must neglect everything else


p456  Early C19th French novelists e.g. Stendhal lived through the French Revolution, the relative “stability” of Napoleon, the three day reign of the Bourbons and the July Revolution, after which the aristocracy by and large needed to find a job. It is not too easy to describe Stendhal’s inner attitude toward social phenomena. It is his aim to seize their every nuance; he most accurately represents the particular structure of any given milieu, he has no preconceived rationalistic system concerning the general factors which determine social life, nor any particular concept of how the ideal society ought to look.

p467  Romanticism, which had taken shape much earlier in Germany and England, and whose historical and individualistic trends had been long in preparation in France, reached its full development after 1820; and, as we know, it was precisely the principle of a mixture  of styles  which Victor Hugo  and his friends made the slogan of their movement…Another writer of the romantic generation, Balzac, who had as great a creative gift and far more closeness to reality, seized upon the representation of contemporary life  as his own particular task and, together with Stendhal, can be regarded as the creator of modern realism.  

p486  In Stendhal and Balzac we frequently and indeed almost constantly hear what the writer thinks of his characters and events…Both these things are absent from Flaubert’s work….upon a profound faith in the truth of language responsibly, candidly, and carefully employed—Flaubert’s artistic practice rests.

p491 Auerbach suggests that throughout the C19th France played the most important part in the rise and development of modern realism. Germany was held back by the lack of unification.In England the development came about more quietly and gradually…more moralistically [eg Fielding’s Tom Jones]; ..even in Dickens, whose work began to appear in the thirties of the C19th, there is, despite the strong social feeling and suggestive density of his milieux, almost no trace of the fluidity of the political and historical background. Meanwhile Thackeray, who places the events of “Vanity Fair” (1847-48) most concretely in contemporary history (the years before and after Waterloo), on the whole preserves the moralistic, half-satirical, half-sentimental viewpoint very much as it was handed down by the C18th. We must, unfortunately, forego discussing the rise of modern Russian realism (Gogol’s “Dead Souls” appeared in 1842)..even in the most general way.; for our purpose, this impossible when one cannot read the works in their original language.

p500 Re the work of Edmond and Jules de Goncourt (e.g. Germanie Lacerteux, 1864)…the worst danger which threatened a work of art was indifference!…The Goncourts charge the public with corrupt and perverted taste, with preferring false values, pseudo-refinement,  pruriency, reading as a comfortable and soporific pastime, books which end happily,  and make no serious demands on the reader…..the polemic of this preface is a symptom; it is characteristic of the relationship which had developed in the course of the C19th between the public and almost all important poets and writers, as well as painters, sculptors and musicians—-and not only in France…

p501  By way of explanation the first point that comes to mind is the tremendous and ever increasing expansion of the reading public since the beginning of the C19th, and the concomitant coarsening of taste. Intelligence, choiceness of feeling, concern for the forms of life and expression deteriorated….the lowering of standards was further accelerated by the commercial exploitation of the tremendous demand for reading matter on the part of publishers of books and periodicals, the majority of whom..followed the path of least resistance and easy profits, supplying the public with what it wanted and possible even worse that it would have demanded if left to its own devices….But who was the reading public? It consisted largely of the urban middle class, which had greatly increased in numbers and, in consequence of the spread of education, had become able and willing to read. Here we have the “bourgeois,” the creature whose stupidity, intellectual inertia, conceit, hypocrisy, and cowardice were attacked and ridiculed by poets, writers, artists, and critics from the romantic period on. Can we simply subscribe to their verdict? Are not these the same people who undertook the tremendous task, the bold adventure, of the economic, scientific, and technological civilization of the C19th, and who also produced the leadership of the revolutionary movements which were the first to recognise the crises, dangers, and foci of corruption inherent in that civilisation. 

p502  But there is something else. In France, the influence of religion had been more profoundly shaken than elsewhere….to be sure, justice had never ruled supreme in this world. But now it was no longer seriously possible, as it had been in earlier times, to interpret and accept injustice as decreed by God. A strong feeling of moral discomfort very soon arose.

p503-4 There now arose [after the 1850s] the conception and ideal of a literary art which in no way intrudes into the practical events of the present, which avoids every tendency to affect the lives of men morally, politically, or otherwise practically, and whose whole duty is to fulfil the requirements of style….the reaction was an absolute denial of every kind of useful function for literature because usefulness immediately suggested practical usefulness or dreary didacticism.  cf Malherbe…who is alleged to have said that a good poet is no more useful than a good bowler. It is to ascribe to literature and art in general the most absolute value, to make them the object of a cult, almost a religion. And thus so high a rank was assigned to pleasure—which was primarily a sensory enjoyment of expression…the attitude here described…became prevalent in the generation born about 1820: Leconte de Lisle, Baudelaire, Flaubert, the Goncourts.

p505-6 When we compare Stendhal’s or even Balzac’s world with the world of Flaubert or the two Goncourts, the latter seems strangely narrow and petty despite its wealth of impressions….today we read…something narrow, something oppressively close in these books.They are full of reality and intellect but poor in humour and inner poise….what finally emerges, despite all their intellectual culture and artistic incorruptibility, is a strangely petty total impression: that of an “upper bourgeois” egocentrically concerned over his aesthetic comfort, plagued by a thousand small vexations, nervous, obsessed by mania—only in this case the mania is called “literature”.

p510  Enter Emile Zola! …Among his enemies, who worked themselves into a fury over what they called the repulsiveness, the filth, and the obscenity of his art, there were doubtless many who accepted the grotesque or comic realism of earlier epochs, even in its crudest  or most indecent representations, with equanimity or even with delight. What excited them so was rather the fact that Zola by no means put forth his art as “of the low style,” still less as comic. Almost every line he wrote showed that all this was meant in the highest degree seriously and morally; that the sum total of it was not a pastime or an artistic parlour game but the true portrait of contemporary society as he—Zola—saw it and as the public was being urged in his works to see it.

p512  The art of style has wholly renounced producing pleasing effects in the conventional sense of the term. Instead it serves unpleasant, depressing, desolate truth.

p515  Zola has many successors…but Zola was the first [genuine researcher of the facts behind the content of his novels].

p516-17In its grasp of contemporary reality French literature is far ahead of the literature of other European countries in the nineteenth century….it is true that the best German works of this period had no world-wide importance…

p520-1   More lasting and important is the effect of the Russians. Gogol, it is true, had scarcely any influence in Europe, and Turgenev, who was on friendly terms with Flaubert and Edmond de Goncourt, would seem on the whole to have received more than he gave. From the eighties on, Tolstoy and Dostoevski begin to come into the picture… seems that the Russians were naturally endowed with the possibility of conceiving of everyday things in a serious vein; that a classicistic aesthetics which excludes a literary category of “the low” from aneroid treatment could never gain a firm foothold in Russia.

p524  Russian coming to terms with European civilisation during the nineteenth century was significant not only for Russia.. In this respect too the effect of Tolstoy and still more of Dostoevski in Europe was very great, and if, in many domains, among them that of realistic literature, the moral crisis became increasingly keen from the last decade before the first World War, and something like a premonition of the impending catastrophe was observable, the influence of the Russian realists was an essential contributing factor.

p531-2  [re Virginia Woolf: To The LIghthouse..] Virginia Woolf wrote this paragraph. She did not identify it through grammatical an typographical devices as the speech or thought of a third person. One is obliged to assume that it contains direct statements of her own. But she does not seem to bear in mind that she is the author and hence ought to know how matters stand with her characters. The person speaking here, whoever it is, acts the part of one who has only an impression of Mrs Ramsay….no-one is certain of anything here…

p534 The writer as narrator of objective facts has almost completely vanished; almost everything stated appears by way of reflections the consciousness of the dramatic personae.

p537  That there is something peculiar about the treatment of time in modern narrative literature is nothing new;  [Amen to that! do we need all this chopping and changing between three or four or more historical settings that we have to work out for ourselves by reference to a family tree? (which at least is given in Marquez: A Hundred  Years of Solitude!]

p541 …Virginia Woolf’s peculiar technique, as exemplified in [To The Lighthouse] ..consists in the fact that the exterior objective reality of the momentary present which the author directly reports and which appears as established fact—in our instance the measuring of the stocking—is nothing but an occasion …the stress is placed entirely on what the occasion releases, things which are not seen directly but by reflection..

…Here it is only natural that we should recall Proust’s work . He was the first to carry this sort of thing through consistently, and his entire technique is bound up with a recovery of lost realities in remembrance, a recovery released by some externally insignificant and apparently accidental occurrence….Proust describes the procedure more than once. We have to wait until volume 2 of “Le Temps retrievé  for a full description embracing the corresponding theory of art; 

p544  Re James Joyce: Ulysses…All the great motifs of the cultural history of Europe are contained in it, although its point of departure is very specific individuals  and a clearly establlished present  (Dublin, June 16, 1904). On sensitive readers it can produce a very strong immediate impression. Really to understand it, however, is not an easy matter, for it makes severe demands on the reader’s patience and learning by it s dizzying whirl of motifs, wealth of words and concepts, perpetual playing upon their countless associations, and the ever rearoused but never satisfied doubt as to what order is ultimately hidden behind so much arbitrariness.   [In my view the best way (the only way?] to read Ulysses is to read it in an edition with detailed explanatory notes e.g. James Joyce, Ulysses :The 1922 Text, Edited with an Introduction and notes by Jeri Johnson Oxford, OUP, 1993]

p545 the influence the procedure and traces of it [ie Proust and Joyce’s manipulation of time] ..can be found almost everywhere…Thomas Mann is an example, who, ever since his “Magic Mountain”, without in any way abandoning his level of tone (in which the narrating, commenting , objectivizing author addressing the reader is always present) has been more and more concerned with time perspectives and the symbolic omnitemporality of events. Another very different instance is André Gide, in whose “Faux-Monnayeurs” there is a constant shifting of the viewpoint from which the events (themselves multilayered) are surveyed, and who carries this procedure to such an extreme that the novel,  and the account of the genesis of the novella are interwoven in the ironic vein of the romanticists.

p549  For there is always going on within us a process of formulation and interpretation who’s subject matter is our own self. We are constantly endeavouring to give meaning and order to our lives in the past, the present, and the future, to our surroundings, the world in which we live, with the result that our lives appear in our own self. 

p550 This literary survey of the Western canon was written on the eve of World War 11 by a Jewish German national forced to live in Turkey. The final three pages are gripping reading. The spread of  publicity and the crowding of mankind on a shrinking globe sharpened awareness of the differences in ways of life and attitudes, and mobilised the interests and forms of existence which the new changes either furthered or threatened. In all parts of the world crises of adjustment arose; they increased in number and coalesced. They led to the upheavals which we have not weathered yet….these forces threatened to split up and disintegrate..fascism hardly had to employ force when the time came for it spread through the countries of old European culture, absorbing the smaller sects.

p551 Re the first half of  C20th literature,  there is in all these works a certain atmosphere of universal doom: especially in “Ulysses, with its mocking “odi-et-amo” hodgepodge of European tradition, with its blatant and painful cynicism, and its uninterpretable symbolism— for even the most painstaking analysis can hardly emerge with anything more than an appreciation of the multiple enmeshment of the motifs but with nothing of the purpose and meaning of the work itself.

p553 The concluding paragraph! Perhaps it will be too simple to please those who, despite all its dangers and catastrophes, admire and love our epoch for the sake of its abundance of life and the incomparable historical vantage point which it affords. But they are few in number, and probably they will not live to see much more than the first forewarnings of the approaching unification and simplification.

p557 From the Epilogue: … Nothing remains but to find him, to find the reader, that is.  I hope that my study will reach its readers—both my friends of former years, if they are still alive, as well as all the others for whom it was intended. And may it contribute to bringing together again those whose love for our western history has serenely persevered.

This edition contains an Appendix: “Epilogue to Mimesis” by Erich Auerbach and translated by Jan M. Ziolkowski, in which Auerbach responds to criticisms of his literary analysis especially by  fellow philologist Robert Curtius.  (1886-1956). It is fairly technical and includes his defence of not responding to some of the works of theologian Rudolph Bultmann on New Testament typology. Bultmann was  a personal friend of Auerbach, whose more current works were not available to him in Turkey but having now read them he was not disposed to make any changes to his major theses in Mimesis.