Biography (Cyclopedia of World Authors, Fourth Revised Edition)
Erich Auerbach (OW-ur-bahk) was one of the most influential and thought-provoking literary critics of the twentieth century. As a high school student in Berlin, he received a solid education in German, French, and Latin. In 1913 he defended his doctoral dissertation on jurisprudence at the University of Heidelberg. During World War I, he served in the German army. After his return to civilian life, Auerbach decided against practicing law and instead undertook the study of romance philology. In 1921 he completed his doctoral dissertation at the University of Griefswald on literary techniques in French and Italian short stories from the early Renaissance.
Throughout his long and distinguished academic career, Auerbach maintained a serious interest in philology, stylistics, and the influence of the classical traditions on French and Italian writers. He published important scholarly works in his native German as well as in Italian, French, and English. His mastery of many languages enabled him to make insightful comments on the interrelationships among the literatures of different countries.
In the 1920’s Auerbach worked as a librarian in the Prussian State Library in Berlin. In 1929 he published an important study on Dante Alighieri, and this book resulted in his appointment to the chair of Romance philology at the University of Marburg, where he taught from 1929 until 1935. In analyzing Dante’s writings in Italian and Latin, Auerbach...
(The entire section is 1000 words.)
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