Auerbach’s Vico in Translation. A Symposium with Jane O. Newman (UC Irvine) and Ron Sadan (Princeton University)

Jane O. Newman and Ron Sadan
UC Irvine and Princeton University
February 24, 2023
9:30 – 11:45 am
EPYNE 011 & EPYNE 012
Black and white portrait image of Eric Auerbach in jacket and tie

Portrait of Erich Auerbach. Printed in Gesammelte Aufsätze zur romanischen Philologie. Ed. Matthias Bormuth and Martin Vialon. Tübingen: Narr Franke, 2018

Giambattista Vico’s historical epistemology was a matter of enduring interest for the German-Jewish literary critic, Erich Auerbach (1892-1957). Best known today as the author of Mimesis: The Representation of Reality in Western Literature (1946), Auerbach wrote about Vico fifteen times over the course of his life and translated his most important work, The New Science, into German in 1924. Yet the impact of Vico’s theory of historical cognition on Auerbach is unclear as scholars have struggled to connect its doctrine of an “ideal eternal history” with the progressivist literary historical secularization thesis often claimed for Auerbach. What was it that so convinced Auerbach of Vico’s relevance to his times that he sought to “make a home in Germany,” as he put it in 1922 for the eighteenth-century Neapolitan? Looking at Auerbach’s first exposure to Vico in the post-WWI German Republic, rather than at better-known works composed in exile after 1936, we might discern the impetus for Auerbach’s “translation” (in an expanded sense) of Vico for the twentieth century.

On Friday, February 23, 2023, graduate students and faculty are warmly invited to participate in the symposium “Auerbach’s Vico in Translation,” led by Professor Jane O. Newman (Professor of Comparative Literature, University of California Irvine) and Ron Sadan (Ph.D. Candidate, Department of German, Princeton University). The event will be held at the Princeton Center for Language Study (East Pyne 011 and 012) from 9:30 to 11:45. Coffee and brunch will be served!