Auerbach's Shakespeare

Publication: Philological Quarterly
Author: Lerer, Seth
Date published: January 1, 2011

In the epilogue t? his great work of literary criticism, Mimesis, Erich Auerbach reflects on the lack of European books and library support for his project. A scholar of Romance languages and literatures, Auerbach had been compelled to leave his post at the University of Marburg because of the growing nazifi cation of the German universities. He had been declared a "full Jew" in October 1935, and his only recourse was to emigrate. German academics had been trickling in to Istanbul, and that city s university had welcomed émigré scholars, not least in part, out of the desire to modernize curricula and research in the wake of Kemal Ataturks social and political reforms. Auerbach arrived in Istanbul in the summer of 1936, and from 1942 to 1945 he wrote the chapters on western European literature that would become, when published in Berne in 1946, his careerdefining study.1

He closed this work by remarking that the libraries in Istanbul were "not well equipped for European studies." He had "to dispense with almost all periodicals, with almost all the more recent investigations, and in some cases with reliable critical editions of my texts." Whatever errors that resulted from this "lack of technical literature," should be excused; so, too, should be the fact that his book has no notes. But, "on the other hand it is quite possible that the book owes its existence to just this lack of a rich and specialized library. If it had been possible for me to acquaint myself with all the work that has been done on so many subjects, I might never have reached the point of writing."2

Readers of Mimesis have long taken this statement at face value. It has been invoked by scholars of the past half century as part of a larger argument about relationships between philology and exile, Jewish intellectualism and European culture, and the very brilliance of Auerbach himself. It has resonated with the remarks of Leo Spitzer, Auerbachs predecessor in Istanbul, who remembered, upon taking up a professorship at Johns Hopkins in 1936, "unfortunately, there were almost no books."3 It has chimed with the accounts of other European scholars in their Turkish exile, that their removal from the worlds of learning was both physical and bibliographical.4 It has enhanced Edward Said s intuition that Auerbach himself showed up in Istanbul armed only with a personal library and a prodigious memory5 And, for my own work on Auerbach and émigré philology, it has provoked a reflection on the nature of the philological imagination itself: an imagination carved out of the memories of libraries and learning, an imagination resonant not only with the historical reality of the ausgewandert y but with the literary legacy of Shakespeares Prospero: "Me, poor man! - my library / Was dukedom large enough."6

We now know his statements to be misleading. As Kader Konuk has shown in his recent book on Auerbach in Istanbul, libraries did exist.7 Even though there was nothing like the Prussian State Library in Berlin or the Marburg University collection, there were archives of ancient and medieval manuscripts, museums rich with Greek and Roman artifacts, and a University of Istanbul that offered a more than respectable collection of literatures and scholarship in European languages. There was, too, the Librarie Hachette in Istanbul that stocked French and German books, as well as other bookshops catering to European clientele. And there was, perhaps most remarkably, the monastic library of San Pietro di Galata - overseen by Monsignor Roncalli, the man who would become Pope John XXIIL Auerbach read the Patrologia Latina in its study, and Konuk suggests that, browsing in that archive s shelves, Auerbach came to understand the nature of medieval figurality and patristic analysis. The information Konuk gathers on the libraries, bookstores, and European literary circles of wartime Istanbul undermines "Auerbachs assertion that Mimesis owed its genesis to the lack of a rich and specialized library'" Instead, we should take Auerbachs remarks not as a statement of archival fact but "as a rhetorical gesture."8

Konuk sees that gesture as a hyperbolic claim designed to "stave off criticism from tradition-bound readers" and to legitimize Auerbachs own claims for his "pioneering approach to literary criticism."9 A work of critical analysis that privileges the close attentiveness to style, that seems to open texts at random for representative passages, that embraces an arc of learning from Odysseus to Mrs. Ramsay - such a work needs, Konuk implies, to embrace a trope of bibliographical deprivation. Mimesis is a book of memories ("Readers will remember"), a book of private readings made public into a story about Western realism.

I would go further. Auerbachs claim of bibliographical deprivation is rhetorical gesture. But it is also a theatrical one. Throughout Mime$is> Auerbach theatricalizes himself as a reader in the study. He performs as he turns the page of whatever edition he may find, or harvests quotations from the few texts available to him. Nowhere does he perform, however, in as sustained or as conflicted a manner as in the chapter on Shakespeare, "The Weary Prince."10 Not simply figuring himself a player on the stage of scholarship, Auerbach moves through Shakespeares characters to find himself aligned against both Shylock and Prospero. These two characters speak to the historical and the imagined Auerbach, as they present, in essence, two competing personae for the exiled philologist: the former, the stage Jew, enmeshed in politics and money, vengeful and easily caricatured; the latter, the scholar enisled with his books, willfully removed from public and political life, who closes his play with a dismissal of the actors and his magic. In Auerbachs hands, these figures prompt reflections on the nature of reading and quotation, the quality of theatrical performance, and the idea of character itself. But they also prompt reflections on the relationship of Judaism to the scholarly persona. James I. Porter has recently claimed that, in Mimesis, Auerbach "discovers himself ... in his philology as a Jew."11 Part ofthat self-discovery, I argue here, lies in his understanding of the theatricality of Jewish identity and, more broadly, in the relationship between scholarship and performance.

Part of that discovery, as well, lies in his use of a particular edition of Shakespeare - a popular, one-volume text, bereft of apparatus, and introduced with what appear at first glance to be the personal meanderings of a forgotten post-Edwardian critic. By looking closely at this text and by juxtaposing it with Auerbachs reflections on theatrical performance, character, and history, we can recover not only the cultural idioms of his Shakespeareanism, but also the material reality of his scholarship. This study, therefore, contributes to the ongoing, re visionary readings oí Mimesis as document of complex personal and literary history. But it contributes, also, to renewed debates about the nature of characterological criticism in Shakespeare and Auerbach^ legacy for modern readers.

Reading as Performing

The twenty chapters oí Mimesis run from Homer and the Old Testament to Virginia Woolf and Marcel Proust. Each one begins with a representative quotation from a particular literary text and then proceeds through close stylistic analyses ofthat passage into an understanding of the social reality that passage represents.12 Through the detailed analysis of style, Auerbach seeks to establish distinctive historical conditions, and his statement, at the close of the book, makes Mimesis an essay not so much in historicist criticism as in representational reflection. "There is confidence," Auerbach writes at the close of the "Brown Stocking" chapter, "that in any random fragment plucked from the course of a life at any time the totality of its fate is contained and can be portrayed."13 The characteristic modernist fragmentation of experience into representative shards can, Auerbach claims, stand as a template for a critical approach to literary texts in which "the interpretation of a few passages from Hamlet, Phèdre, or Faust can be made to yield more, and more decisive, information about Shakespeare, Racine, or Goethe and their times than would a systematic and chronological treatment of their lives and works." Mimesis is a book of synecdoches, a book in which parts stand for wholes, in which the rhetorical trope of selection becomes the method for a representation. The book thus argues not just for a representation of reality but for a representation of literature: a sense of literary history presented through representative fragments.

It was precisely this method of seemingly random quotation that led early reviewers to question whether there was any method to the book at all. Ernst Robert Curtius was particularly scathing in his criticism of Auerbachs philology (especially as it had been deployed on classical texts), and René Wellek, damning with faint praise, considered Mimesis "a personal commonplace or rather uncommonplace book" - in essence, an idiosyncratic history of the excerpt. But it is precisely through this randomized reading that Mimesis comes alive - or, I should say, that Auerbach comes alive in it. For what Auerbach does in the course of his book is not simply read but perform. His first-person accounts of opening texts, of finding passages, and of lighting on particular phrases are all narratives of staged philology. In one sense, Mimesis is something of a commonplace book. But in another sense, it is a script.14

Carl Landauer has nicely intuited this sense of "the persona of Auerbach ... as a virtuoso performer," and he read Mimesis (perhaps a bit too glibly) as a set of "little parlor games in which Auerbach opens books at random and, of course, chances upon passages that work perfectly to prove his points." But it is true, as Landauer noted, that Auerbach himself described his method as one "constantly in play." As his epilogue moves to its close, Auerbach states that "the method of textual interpretation gives the interpreter a certain leeway," and goes on to aver that it developed only over time, "as I went along, playing as it were with my texts." The German is more pointed. What Willard R. Trask translated as "certain leeway" is "einigen Spielraum," quite literally a certain room for play. "Playing with my texts" is "im Spiel mit dem Text." This technique of reading as form oí Spiel - play, game, theater - needs to be taken forcefully, as it engages directly with one of the major axes oí Mimesis itself.15

Auerbach has trouble with the drama. His chapter on the Old French ]eu d'Adam (chapter 7, "Adam and Eve") hovers uneasily around the theatrical qualities of the work.16 It is a chapter full of critical and editorial problems of its own: questions about the textual attribution of the plays lines to its characters, and questions about what Auerbach himself sees as essential to the characters of Eve, Adam, and the Serpent. In the course of his analysis he seems uneasy with Eves own theatricality. Adam, in Auerbachs reading, is a good French citizen ("ein braver Mann, ein französischer Bürger oder Bauer"). Eve, by contrast, is impetuous and childish. She has the rashness of the underaged (what in the German he calls "Tollkühnheit des Unmündigen"). Adams Fall, in these terms, is the demise of the grown-up tripped up by the games of the child. The drama of his loss lies in this "poor confused, uprooted Adam" with whom Eve plays spielt).17 The ]eu d'Adam comes off, in Auerbachs hands as much a tragedy of class and generations as Schillers Luise Miller in does ten chapters later. And, as I have argued elsewhere, the ]eu d'Adam can be read as a political allegory about collaboration and betrayal - a story about people led astray, a story for, as Auerbach would put it elsewhere in Mimesis, "the history that we ourselves are witnessing." So, too, maybe Luise Millerin - a play about what he calls "political freedom," a play that, "more than any other, [is] a dagger thrust to the heart of absolutism" ("ein Dolchstoss in das Herz des Absolutismus").18

Drama reveals the tensions between individual motive and public expectation, and such tensions energize the opening quotation of "The Weary Prince" from Henry IV, Part 2. Prince Henry and his crony, Poins, discuss the nature of mood, the quality of appetite, and comforts of the creaturely19 "Before God," Prince Henry opens, "I am exceeding weary." Auerbach calls attention to the phrase "small beer" in Henrys playful question, to the banter between the Prince and the playmate, and to the inventory of clothing that concludes the brief exchange. He sees this passage as exemplary of Shakespeares mixing of high and low styles: the ways in which a single passage of the playwrights can set the sublime against the "physical- creatural," and in the process blend the potentially comic and tragic. The chapter goes on, attending to Hamlet and Shylock, Falstaff and Othello. It hints at a review of humanist responses to the old, medieval figurai traditions. It generalizes about "Shakespeares ethical and intellectual world." Nowhere, however, is there a sustained reading of the play with which the chapter opens. Nowhere is there a treatment of the textual conundrums of the work. Nowhere is there a pointed, philological analysis of Shakespeares vernacular. And nowhere is the critical engagement with the powerful political environment of a dramatists work and the nature of historicist criticism. There is barely a nod to the traditions of Shakespeareana Auerbach would have doubtless known (Schlegel, Hazlitt, Bradley), and even Goethe appears only briefly - first, for his remarks on Hamlet (slighted with the aside that, for all of its virtues, his "interpretation is at the same time a stylistic mirror of his own time"), and then in his notes on a translation of Diderot's Neveu de Rameau, building a shaky bridge to Spanish dramatists of the Golden Age and, for the following chapter oí Mimesis, Don Quixote.20

This is less a chapter about Shakespeare and his performance than it is about Auerbach himself performing the act of reading: about the randomness of flipping through a book; about the characters that catch the eye. There is no sense here of the Shakespeare of the stage. But there is a great sense of the scholar in the study. This is a chapter written in the narrative present. It charts the progress of a critic paging through his edition as he writes. "In the introduction to an edition of Shakespeare which I have before me, I find ... I open a volume ... I turn a few pages ... let me adduce." Even when he comes to Goethe, Auerbach makes himself the subject of the act of quoting: "I shall quote a passage."21

If there is anyone on stage here, it is Auerbach himself. As Landauer puts it, these remarks "show the author oí Mimesis to be a virtuoso performer, capable of dealing with any text or fragment that comes his way."22 They contribute to the emerging critical "personality" of Auerbach himself- the personality of virtuoso teacher and close reader that would stand as his legacy, much later, in America. But they contribute, too, I think, to Auerbachs own understanding of the nature of Renaissance English drama as a world of reading.

"Reading matter," in the words of Heidi Brayman Hackel, "proliferates on the stage in Shakespeare's plays." Letters, documents, treaties, maps, books - all fill the prop-store of his theater, and the drama of personal relations often hinges on the discovery of texts or the interpretation of a written word.23 For Hamlet, that weariest of princes, writings are everywhere. In act 2, for example, Polonius reads out before the Queen Hamlet's letter to Ophelia, only to be interrupted as the prince himself enters, to Gertrude's comment, "But look where sadly the poor wretch comes reading." He and Polonius go back and forth about just what he reads ("Words, words, words"). He finds Polonius "tedious," seems irritated by Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, and comes alive only when the actors enter. His weariness, it seems, had been almost inseparable from his learning. He had entered, in act 1 , disgusted by the "weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable . . . uses of this world" (1.2.337-38). In the iconic soliloquy of act 3, "To be or not to be," he asks: "who would fardels bear, / To grunt and sweat under a weary life?" (3.1.1769-70). For all his learning and his study, for all the books he bears and texts he reads, Hamlet spins through a weary world. Indeed, one could well argue that the very image of the learned man in the canonical Renaissance theater was inseparable from a state of weariness. Antonio opens The Merchant of Venice not knowing why he is "so sad." "It wearies me," he says to Salarino, "you say it wearies you." Impatience, tiredness, ennui - these are the qualities of Marlowe's Faustus, too, at the beginning of his play. "Settle thy studies," "read no more." Faustus sits on the stage, turning the pages of his books, rifling through Justinian and Jerome, then pulling down the "necromantic books."24

Reading is performing in these theatrical spaces, and any reader of the drama as attentive as Auerbach would have seen it. Flipping through his texts, he comes off in his Shakespeare chapter as a Faustus of the classroom, and when he turns, towards the chapter's close, to Prospero, it is as the old magician, dismissing the world of his library and vanishing the actors. "We are such stuff /As dreams are made of." Auerbach turns his pages, and we become, much like Prósperos own Miranda, needfully attentive students in the theater of his schoolroom. "I turn a few pages." "Let me adduce." We hear him, at these moments, teaching to us. Of all the chapters in Mimesis, this one sounds most like a lecture.

"Reliable critical editions"

And if it is a lecture, Auerbach has one book on the lectern: "The Complete Works of W S., London and Glasgow, n.d., Introduction by St. John Ervine" (318). The Complete Works of William Shakespeare appeared from Collins publishers in 1923. It was a single volume, inexpensive text, with no notes. The plays appear in the order of the First Folio, and Ervine's introduction offers a brief set of reflections on Shakespeare's genius, his language, and his sense of character. Collins had been reprinting cheap editions of Shakespeare since the mid- nineteenth century, reissuing the same text that appeared in their College School and English Classics editions.25 Given the plethora of Shakespeares, learned and popular, in circulation by the early twentieth century, the Collins volume is an odd one for a scholar. Not only does it have no apparatus, it clearly had no impact, and Auerbachs may well be the only published reference to it.26

A middling Irish playwright, novelist, and journalist, St. John Greer Ervine (1883-1971) was, by the 1920s, best known for his drawing-room comedies. He looked down on what he saw as the vulgarity of his contemporary English stage and favored an approach to theater as the expression of genius. "A man of genius," he wrote of Shakespeare in his 1924 book, The Organised Theatre, "is at once a sign of his own greatness, and a sign of his nation's greatness: he is the expression both of a unique personality and of a noble race."27 As Cary DiPietro puts it, The Organised Theatre spoke directly to the "national and racial" elevation of Shakespeare at the beginning of the twentieth century. "For Ervine," DiPietro notes, "Shakespeare was a cultural exemplar who could unite a disenfranchised public under the aegis of nationhood, Shakespeare's individual genius and eternal value set against the image of a nation battling an effeminating loss of identity"28 Such views were at the heart of Ervine's other encounters with Shakespeare, for example, his review of Lewis Cassons 1927 portrayal of Shylock at the Lyric Theater in Hammersmith, which he complained lacked the "magnificence of baffled rage and the courageous abandon of a man whose life is filled with despair." Such views run through Ervine's own assays at Shakespearean playwriting, as in his Lady of Belmont (staged also in 1927), where he imagines a ten-year reunion of the characters of the Merchant of Venice and, in the process, shows a mellowed, quieter, and indeed assimilationist Shylock, friend of the Duke and wealthier than before.29

Ervine's introduction to the Collins edition is fully of a piece with these sentiments. "The authority of Shakespeare among men of supreme genius," he begins, "does not diminish nor is it brought to a standstill by time."30 Over and over, Ervine stresses the "genius" of Shakespeare: its purview, its surprise, its brilliance. "The man of genius reveals himself, as all men of genius do, in a succession of amazements, so that his authority over our minds and love rises from respect to submission" (xxi). The products of such a man's mind are characters of powerful endurance, figures who love, lie, and lose in ways that stir the human soul far more than any earlier imaginative works might. Greek tragedy, for Ervine, drew power from the myths, the politics, the plotlines of its playing; it did not depend on the inner motivations of its characters. This is what Shakespeare did, and Ervine's introduction moves through a sequence of choice quotations (Arnoldian touchstones, really), all displayed to illustrate the truth of character and the brilliance of the words.31 Personae trump plotlines for all of the plays: "Any old plot would serve for his purpose, even one so puerile as that of The Merchant of Venice' (xxiv). Inspired, perhaps, by Ben Jonson's famous eulogy ("He was not of an age, but for all time"), Ervine reflects on how the plays can speak, still, to the modern reader.32 "Do you want a play about war that might have been written by a modern dramatist on the European War of 1914-1918? You'll find it in Troilus and Cressida, so apt to our own times that it contains a passage that might have been applied to the Coalition Government which fell, unwept, unhonoured, and unsung in 1922" (xxxi). And then he quotes these lines of Troilus from the play:

O madness of discourse,

That cause sets up with and against itself!

Bi-fold authority! Where reason can revolt

Without perdition, and loss assume all reason

Without revolt.

Finally, Ervine concludes, if some of the plays express a "disgust with mankind," Shakespeare's "last word" remains hopeful. Sustaining the tradition that The Tempest was the last play and Prospero a self-portrait of the playwright as magician, Ervine concludes with a set of famous quotations about the "potent art" and the "rough magic" before bidding his own farewell: "He made The Tempest for a final gift to mankind, and then, peacefully and without complaint, broke his staff and died" (xxxii).

What did Auerbach see in this edition? It may have been a cheap, convenient one to have in bo ok- deprived Istanbul (far more so than the multivolume, scholarly editions that had been proliferating in the first third of the twentieth century).33 But it may also have been one that spoke directly to Auerbachs sensibilities. Writing about his use of critical editions in his medieval work, Stephen G. Nichols illustrates that Auerbach was often less attentive than he might have been to editorial fastidiousness. The best text for Auerbach, Nichols argues, may not have been the most historically accurate but, rather, was often "the one that most accurately could convey an image of the medieval imagination that was most exciting, most satisfying to modern sensibilities."34 Ervine's Shakespeare fits this pattern. The volume offers up a text that conveys, in explicit terms, the playwright's Renaissance imagination that was most exciting and satisfying to modern sensibilities. Ervine's association of the European War of 1914-18 and the Coalition government of 1922 strikes a chord with Auerbachs asides, in the first chapter oí Mimesis, on the nature of history and legend. And these asides, as Porter has noticed, are far more pointed in the German than in Trask's translation. Modified to fit the original, they read:

Let the reader think of the history which we ourselves are witnessing; anyone who, for example, evaluates the behavior of men and groups of men at the time of the rise of National Socialism in Germany, or the behavior of individual people and states before and during the present (1942) war, will feel how difficult it is to represent historical themes in general, and how unfit they are for legend . . . the motives of all the interested parties are so complex that the slogans of propaganda can be composed only through the crudest simplification.35

Both Auerbach and Ervine explicitly invite the reader to make the associations between historical literature and recent history. Both call attention to the judgments and actions surrounding a dated and datable conflict. And Auerbach, rejecting the slogans of propaganda and the crude simplifications of public speech, evokes in his own way the lines of the exasperated Troilus that Ervine quotes to make his point: "O madness of discourse . . ." Ervine's is a Shakespeare for a modern sensibility, and Auerbach must have found in these passages a resonance to his own sense of reason in revolt.

And yet, if Auerbach found something of a kindred vision in this introduction, he also found a chance to hone his arguments against the whetstone of an inadequate predecessor. He quotes from Ervine (in English) to exemplify what he believes to be "the prevailing view" about the nature of Elizabethan tragedy and the role of the individual hero's character in shaping his destiny:

And here we come on the great difference between the Greek and the Elizabethan drama: the tragedy in the Greek plays is an arranged one in which the characters have no decisive part. Theirs but to do and die [sic] . But the tragedy in the Elizabethan plays comes straight from the heart of the people themselves. Hamlet is Hamlet, not because a capricious god has compelled him to move to a tragic end, but because there is a unique essence in him which makes him incapable of behaving in any other way than he does.36

He then goes on to summarize the bulk of Ervine's claims, comparing the freedom of action in a Shakespearean character to that in a Greek tragedy. "In this form, the contrast is formulated too absolutely." But, nonetheless, he concedes, "the English critic's basic idea is sound: in Elizabethan tragedy and specifically in Shakespeare, the hero's character is depicted in greater and more varied detail than in antique tragedy, and participates more actively in shaping the individual's fate."37

What Auerbach finds locally in Ervine he would have found globally in a tradition of characterological criticism of Shakespeare.38 The idioms and arguments of his introduction chime with the Romantic understanding of the playwright's accomplishment as primarily keyed to the realistic representation of individual personae. Schlegels sense of Shakespeare as "the master of reality" pervades Ervine's assessments, as does Hazlitt's notion that "every single character in Shakespeare, is as much an individual, as those in life itself."39 Certainly, Ervine's claim that Shakespeare's work "is as varied in character and quality as his people" must recall these phrasings, and his arguments about the national, if not the popular, appeal of Shakespeare take us back as well to the Romantics. Indeed, the Romantic and later nineteenth-century discussion of the characters of Shakespeare often shaded into discussions of national character. The claim for an English Shakespeare, for that matter a locally English Shakespeare, is the telos of Ervine's introduction. "Greatness," he avers, "walked often in those days, and genius freely flowered in England, France, and Spain." But, Ervine goes on: "It is our pride that the very accents of humanity were most truly repeated in the heart of this great countryman of ours who was born in a small community and returned to it to die" (xxxi). The sense of Shakespeare as a maker of characters, the sense that "he created his people and then ... let them go their way," wherever it might be, the sense of Shakespeare as a timely and a timeless author - all these impressions bring us back, in Ervine's introduction, to the local and the English. Whatever Shakespeare's genius, Ervine shows him, in the end, to be a man of country and of town. How close he seems, then, in this vision, to Auerbachs imagined Adam of the Old French play, ein braver Mann, ein Bürger. Character on the stage shades into character of a people, and we think again of "Adam and Eve," when Auerbach reflects on differences between Old French and medieval Italian expressions of personal experience as "implicit in the character of the people" im Charakter des Volkes angelegt). 40

"I had to dispense with . . . reliable critical editions" zuverlässige kritische Ausgabe). Is Ervine's a reliable edition? Perhaps not for the professional Shakespearean. But for the philologist in exile, it struck a chord. Zuverlässig - reliable, but also, depending on the context, dependable, trustworthy, or safe. Ervine, however Auerbach came to him, is a safe choice. His introduction resonates with decades of post-Romantic Shakespearean verities. His personal asides chime with Auerbachs interjections about "the history that we ourselves are witnessing." And, at the end, as Ervine moves from Shakespeare as a maker of character to a voice in local English accents, as he reflects on his short life - "He died when he was fifty- two years of age" - how can we not see Auerbach, himself approaching fifty-two in Istanbul, moved to turn the page of Ervine's introduction and find Prospero, abjuring his rough magic?

Shylock and Spitzer

Before he does so, he has other ghosts to wrestle with. Return, now, to the phrasing of "Adam and Eve." Is there, truly, a Charakter des Volkes7. Is there a difference between the character of a people and the characters performed on stage? This question lies at the heart of Auerbachs engagement with the theater and, more pointedly, with his uneasy encounter with Shylock in this chapter. What he is most concerned with here, and where he finds his inspiration in Ervine, is the relationship of character and fate. The Shakespearean tragic figure is not predestined to fall because of divine intervention; his is a life shaped by the circumstances of his birth, the nature of his place in the world, and by his "prehistory," by which Auerbach means fate. Shylock, in particular, is a figure shaped by fate, "its unmistakable idiosyncrasy and . . . the tragic situation destined for it." That situation, he goes on, grows out of the tensions between the emerging historical consciousness of the humanist imagination and the dramatic specificity of Shakespeare's settings. The plays take place in differing historical times; they locate action in a range of places throughout the known world. At times, a play is set even in "some fairyland only loosely connected with real times and places." All of these features of his plays would have been "unknown to the theater of the ancients," and the "exotic appeal which Venice, Verona, and the like had for an English audience" would have been absent from the Greek tragedians.41

Auerbach recognizes at this moment that the Shakespearean tragic figure, and Shylock in particular, can live anywhere. Whatever his Englishness of idiom, he acts in times and places far removed from his or his author's vernacular. "A figure like Shylock," with his distant setting, his Jewish identity, his creatural appearance, "raises through its mere existence problems outside the sphere of the classical drama." Earlier in the chapter, Auerbach had seen him as a "borderline case," one straddling the tragic and the comic. Saddled with speeches that voice "great humanitarian ideas," he nonetheless has "ludicrous and grotesque traits." He is, in the end, "frankly a figure from farce," and, "in the end Shakespeare dismisses him." Actors who try to play him as a tragic hero are, in Auerbachs words, "wrong." There is an element of tragedy in him, true; but as a "low figure," he is unworthy of the name of hero, and his "tragic involvement is conjured up for a moment," only to be brushed away.42

David Damrosch, in a sensitive, yet brief account, considers Auerbach's engagement with Shylock as less a matter of religion than of class. Auerbach, Damrosch affirms, "doesn't even mention that Shylock is a Jew until the tail end of the discussion, and then only to contrast Shylock to Marlowe's Jew of Malta." Damrosch sees this encounter as evasive and ambiguous, as if Auerbach were pointedly declining to address the Jewishness of Shakespeare's character, as if he were distancing himself from any personal identification with the Jewish character, as if he were trying to "maintain a clear distance between his time" (and all that "his time" conjures up) and Shakespeare's fiction.43

Auerbach's Shylock, however, is more complex than that. It offers a reflection of his own, earlier engagements with the rhetoric of anti-Semitism and the critiques of the theater. Shylock, to start, is not simply another Shakespearean character; he was, for many critics, the character par excellence. As Schlegel put it: "Shylock, the Jew, is one of the inimitable masterpieces of characterization which are to be found only in Shakespeare." Shakespeare, he goes on, offers more than just a "caricature of national sentiments," for even though "we can hear a light whisper of the Jewish accent even in the written words," he is "a man of information, in his own way, a thinker." His adherence to the letter of the law, his sense of inflexible justice, his selfish cruelty - all contribute, in Schlegels words, to Shylock as a "symbol of the general history of his unfortunate nation."44

For a century after Schlegel had written, critics and scholars grappled with this emblematic Shakespearean character. Just how to play him had become, for actors and directors, one of the central enigmas of any production, not just of his play but of any of the Shakespeare plays.45 Actors had made their names in their Shylocks, and Auerbachs sense of how he should be played responds directly to traditions of German- speaking performance. The director Max Reinhardt, for example, had him played for comedy, part of the larger "festive atmosphere" of his 1905 production the Merchant. Later productions nuanced the role. In the hands of actors such as Rudolph Schildkraut, Albert Basserman, Fritz Körtner, and Werner Krauss, Shylock became, by turns, tragic and bitter, fierce and strong, angry and resentful. John Gross reports the story that when Reinhardt tapped the great Werner Krauss (famous for his starring role in the 1919 film The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari) for his 1921 production, the director found the actor not quite getting the role. Reinhardt apparently told Krauss that only a Jew could handle the performance, and Krauss himself came up with the idea of playing it frech, or cheeky. But, as Gross reports, some found this cheekiness more like madness. As one reviewer wrote of Krauss's performance, "He ceased to be an actor playing a Jew and took on the perplexing appearance of a medieval player in the part of a ghost."46

What does it mean to play the Jew? Does it mean acting out a part, putting on accents in the voice or prostheses on the face? Or, does it mean, instead, to recognize that throughout history there has been something always theatrical about Jewishness itself? The very nature of the European confrontation with the Jew, especially the Jewish male, had been to turn him into a staged creature: costumed in special hats, with special markings, with imagined physical features verging on caricature, the Jew from the Middle Ages onward had been dressed to play the part.47 In the decades before the Second World War, the theatricality of Jewishness became pervasive.48 Artists such as Marc Chagall responded to the figure of the Jew as performer - sentimental, musical, costumed - by developing an iconography of shtetl memory fit for the cognoscenti of the metropolis. Chagall himself worked for the Yiddish theater in Russia, and throughout European and American cities, Yiddish troupes flourished, with many of their alumni going on to star in more mainstream European and American venues.49 The musical theater of the early twentieth century, with its comic investment in ethnic stereotypes, offered welcoming spaces for Jewish performers, honed on traditions of self-deprecating humor, mockingly learned wit, and domestic jokes.50 The Jew and the comedian were such a familiar association that Freud could aver: "The jokes made about Jews by foreigners are for the most part brutal comic stories in which a joke is made unnecessary by the fact that Jews are regarded by foreigners as comic figures (komische Figur). . . . Incidentally, I do not know whether there are many other instances of a people (Volk) making fun to such a degree of its own character (Wesen)."51

I ask again: what is the character of a people? To write of Jewish humor may be a benign commonplace now, but it was not so for the European 1930s. The sense of Jewishness itself as fundamentally performative, masked, and comic, contributed to Nazi- era propaganda about Jews as "inauthentic." In his East West Mimesis, Konuk explores both the Nazi propaganda and the 1930s Turkish sentiment behind the idea of the Jew as mimic or impersonator. Jews were, as Konuk illustrates, "mock Europeans," and the converted Jews of Ottoman Turkey (the so-called dönme) were never trusted. Konuk summarizes: "Figures of Jewishness like the disloyal dönme and the eternal guest shaped Turkish ideas about home, belonging, and the national character. For their part, the Nazis created an image of Jews as inauthentic mimics and used this as one of the grounds for their expulsion and extermination."52 Konuk presses these observations into the service of a larger understanding of Auerbach's self- consciousness as a Jew in wartime Istanbul. He makes the case that Auerbach was sensitive to these cultural and political discourses, and in turn, that he set out, at least in part, to distance himself from the politics of anti- Jewish action in the city. Not for Auerbach the attention-getting protests of Leo Spitzer, who in the months before he left Istanbul for Johns Hopkins, strongly protested the German embassy's treatment of a visiting Jewish violinist. What Konuk presents as Spitzers "act of resistance" was, I think, more like a piece of political theater, complete with a powerfully written letter of protest, its public circulation among members of the German community, and Spitzer's histrionic outrage. Spitzer's behavior was condemned, by the German consulate, as "embarrassing."53

And yet, this behavior would have been fully in keeping with the brash performativity of Spitzer himself. Famous in Germany (and then later in America) for his flamboyant teaching style, he caught Auerbach's eye in 1930, provoking a response that takes the modern reader's breath away. Writing to his friend Ludwig Binswanger in March of that year, Auerbach described his contemporary in terms that reach back to centuries of theatrical, if not anti-Semitic exaggeration.54

Spitzer is the son of a Viennese Jew and an opera singer. He is full of activity and tactlessness, he has lively ideas and not even a shadow of culture and discrimination, he is very cordial, very malicious, very presumptuous, very insecure, very sentimental, he is open-hearted beyond belief, and a born comedian. . . . You have to see him. The face of an actor, the head leaning forward, with a long and baroque nose, and his curls already somewhat gray, on the street with a coat that is way too short.

[Spitzer ist der Sohn eines Wiener Juden und einer Sängerin. Er is voll von Aktivität und Tatlosigeit, hat lebendige Gedanken und keinen Schatten von Bildung und Kritik, ist sehr herzlich, sehr boshaft, sehr eingebildet, sehr unsicher, sehr sentimental, ungeheuer offenherzig und ein geborener Komödiant. ... Sie müssten ihn sehen. Ein Schauspielergesicht, Kopf vor, mit langer Barocknase und schon etwas grauen Locken, auf der Strasse einen viel zu kurzen Mantel.]

Here is the stage Jew as professor. A child of a performer, he bears the iconography of anti-Semitic caricature going back centuries. The frightening Dr. Coppelius of E. T. A. Hoffman s The Sandman, for example, looks the same: compare the vision of his big nose, growing over his lip, his greasy, perhaps pomaded curls, and his ash-gray coat, cut in an outmoded style. Coppelius enters the child Nathaniels world in this story as the emblem of repulsiveness itself, a hateful, spectral monster, whose face would haunt the dreams of scholars from the early-nineteenth through the mid-twentieth century (not the least of whom would be Freud himself).55

And Spitzers face comes back to haunt the Shylock oí Mimesis. A Schauspieler and a Komödiant, with his exaggerated features and his manic action he is close kin to the Shylock of "The Weary Prince." There, Shylock is eine Farcenfigur (a figure out of farce).56 For Shakespeare, Auerbach avers, Shylock is, "ständisch und ästhetisch, eine niedere Figur, des Tragischen unwürdig" ("both in terms of class and aesthetically, a low figure, unworthy of tragic treatment").57 For Auerbach, Spitzer is similarly low, without even a shadow of Bildung (that important concept of formative, cultural education) or Kritik (used here to mean discrimination or fine judgment).58 "Our Prince," Auerbach remarks about young Henry, "has the same views. Far be it from him to treat Poins as an equal."59 And far be it from Auerbach, in 1930, to treat Spitzer - the same Spitzer who, but a few years later would make it possible for Auerbach to immigrate to Istanbul, to take up his position at the University, to survive, even without his books - as anything other than the very Shylock whose stereotypes he had sought to escape.60

It is this sense of comic exaggeration, of sentimental overacting, and of farce that brings Spitzer and Shylock vividly together. Auerbachs Shylock is incapable of bearing tragic weight. He is ludicrous and grotesque. They are both, to return to Freud, komische Figur. So, too, Shakespeare's other characters, at their worst, are at their most theatrical and exaggerated. Gloucester's wooing of Lady Anne at the start oí Richard III "has something darkly grotesque" ("etwas Finster-Groteskes"). Cleopatra is "childish and moody" ("kindlich und lauenhaft"). Caesar's "rhetorical pride is almost comically exaggerated" ("sein pathetischer Stolz ist ein wenig komisch übertrieben"). Lear can be "painfully senile and theatrical" ("des peinlich Greisenhaften und des Theatralischen"); he can be capable of "extreme and theatrical gesture of bitterly grotesque self-humiliation" ("eine Geste bittergrotesker Selbsterniederdrigung, überaus grell und schauspielhaft").61 Notice the language here: childishness, pathos, grotesquery, comic exaggeration, overt theatricality. Everyone here is just a bit too schauspielhaft, and these descriptions call to mind, almost like an echo, Auerbach's earlier vision of Spitzer. Would it be unfair to say that, at their most extreme, these characters from Shakespeare are not only their most comic but also their most Jewish? What better term, in fact, to characterize that tradition of self-deprecating Jewish humor than the word used to describe Lear at his worst: Selbsterniederdrigung? These characters at their most theatrical are at their most Shylockian, and as "The Weary Prince" moves to its resolution, Auerbach himself moves past the farce of Shylock to the quiet resignation of Prospero. His quotations and his phrasings from Macbeth and The Tempest trace a line in Shakespeare that rejects the actor as impersonator. In the end, Auerbach gives us an untheatrical theater.


Readers of Shakespeare since the eighteenth-century had imagined The Tempest as his farewell to the theater.62 In Prospero, the magus and stagemanager, calling up actors only to dismiss them at the end, they found an inkling of the playwright, tired of the stage and ready to return to Stratford. And yet, Prósperos performance history is far more mobile than Shylock's. Some played him as an old man, others as an ageless genius (John Gielgud, aged twenty-six in 1930, dressed himself like Dante).63 He does not have the same iconic quality as Shylock, but his words do. For, while Shylock may have been performed, Prospero was always quoted. St. John Ervine ended his introduction with the speeches from act 5 of The Tempest, when Prospero remembers how he had "bedimm'd / The noontide sun" and opened graves to make the dead walk, "By my so potent art." He closes with the abjuration of "rough magic" and the final claim, "I'll drown my book."

This use of Prosperos farewell to signal closure had, by Ervine's time, become a trope, if not a cliché of valediction. Everybody seems to have used it, even the German journalist and theater critic Maximilian Harden writing about Max Reinhardt.64 Harden was ubiquitous in Germany in the first decades of the twentieth century - judging performances, writing for the theater, editing the influential journal Die Zukunft. The New York Times, reporting on his lecture tour in 1909, called him "the greatest molder of public opinion in Germany," but by the mid- 1920s he been assaulted and abused, and he gave up editing to retire to Switzerland.65 His essay in appreciation, "The Genius of Max Reinhardt," appeared in English in a volume devoted to the director, published in 1924, and it begins in ways that strikingly recall the gestures of Auerbachs chapter. Harden opens with Prosperos speech about the rough magic and the drowning of the book, and then reflects:

Prospero, magician and duke of Milan, utters these words. And with his tongue, according to a beautiful tradition that grows old in Wisdom, of which no philologist can ever deprive us again, speaks as a poet, who, at the threshold of his fiftieth year, in full possession of his imaginative force, releases himself of his own free will from the strong compulsion of his own art of enchantment and abjures his magic at the cloud-darkened parting of the ways, in order to stride into the cramped life of a mere earthly being.66

And then, after two more pages of this kind of rhetoric, Harden quotes Prosperos words from The Tempest, act 4, on the "baseless fabric of this vision" and the "little life . . . rounded with a sleep." Much like St. John Ervine, he uses Prospero's words to evoke Shakespeares retirement from the stage back to Stratford, what Harden calls "the peaceful island."

Read in tandem with Ervine's ministrations, Hardens words contribute to the sense of sentimental Shakespearean valediction in the first decades of the twentieth century. They build the idioms out of which Auerbach would reach for Prospero. But they build, too, a sense of how to quote Shakespeare himself. These bits and pieces are not random gleanings. They have a purpose, and by the time that Auerbach, just past his own fiftieth year, was writing Mimesis in Istanbul, these quotations took on a power all their own. "I open a volume of Shakespeare at random." First, there are Lennox s words from Macbeth 3.6, beginning, "My former speeches have but hit your thoughts, Which can interpret further," and ending with, "For 'twould have anger'd any heart alive, / To hear the men deny't ..." Lennox's words, rhetorical but used in private conversation, give us a mixture of styles "entirely foreign to antiquity."67 But they are perfectly at home in Auerbachs study. "Things have been strangely borne." People have died; wars have been fought. "And have these things been nobly done?" "Men must not walk too late." One reads these lines with an eye for the political, for the ways in which Auerbach inscribes that sense of isolation, hope, and moral judgment that runs throughout Mimesis. "Let the reader think," he had written, "of the history which we ourselves are witnessing." And if we do, we cannot but recall St. John Ervine's words about Shakespeare, now applied to Auerbach: "so apt to our own times."

Shortly after the quotation from Lennox, Auerbach announces that "I turn a few pages," and he comes to the great speech after Macbeth hears the news of his wife's death. "To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow How random can this choice be? For here, he has lighted on the passage that associates life and the player. Strutting and fretting on the stage, he's heard no more. "Life's but a walking shadow." Recall, now, Auerbach's caricature of Spitzer, full of activity, without "even a shadow of culture" ("hat . . . keinen Schatten von Bildung"). Here on the pages of Mimesis, Macbeth has put aside the trappings of the theater and become "heavy with a self- acquired wisdom." He has "grown ripe for knowledge." And so, too, have we. Again, the heaviness: "tragic characters," he notes, become "heavy with destiny." They become ripe. And the wisest of all, Prospero, closes the exposition, dismissing the actors after the masque. "Let me adduce ... a few lines from The Tempest? Auerbach avers, in the last bit of Shakespeare quoted in the chapter:

these our actors,

As I foretold you, were al spirits, and

Are melted into air, into thin air;

And, like the baseless fabric of this vision

The cloud-cappcl towers, the gorgeous palaces,

The solemn temples, the great globe itself,

Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve,

And like this unsubstantial pageant faded,

Leave not a rack behind; we are such stuff

As dreams are made of, and our little life

Is rounded with a sleep.

This is the passage quoted, too, by Harden, as he thinks about how Max Reinhardt should have retreated home from the bustle of theater. Auerbach's own prose, at this moment, purples into metaphysics, evoking, much like Hardens, a world beyond prop and costume. Shakespeare's characters, he writes, "are all connected as players in a play written by the unknown and unfathomable Cosmic Poet; a play on which He is still at work, and the meaning and reality of which is as unknown to them as it is to us."

Auerbach must dismiss the actors. Schauspieler such as Shylock and Spitzer must vanish from his stage. The props of tavern dining - the small beer and appetites of weary princes - cede to the violence of the battlefield (the "slaves of drinks" oí Macbeth). The actor, strutting and fretting his hour upon the stage, is heard no more. The stockings and the shirts of the opening quotation from Henry IV, Part 2 reveal themselves to be the costumes of the performer, made as much of a baseless fabric as the vision conjured on Prósperos island. The Weary Prince rejects the trappings of the stage and looks forward to a life rounded with a sleep.

My readings of "The Weary Prince" have moved through specific editions, cultural idioms, and critical rhetoric. They have sought to explore the many lenses through which Auerbach saw Shakespeare: early twentieth- century appreciation, German-language criticism and theatrical traditions, Jewish theatricality and its political responses. I began in the hope of extending an understanding of how one of the twentieth-century's most influential literary critics engaged with traditions now neglected.

I end, however, with the recognition that this study speaks, as well, to newer, critical attempts to rehabilitate the appreciation of character in literature. Half a century after the New Criticism effectively abolished the engagement with the psyches of imaginary people, and decades since high critical theory made it seem naïve to have an emotional attachment to the personae of literature, readers are coming back to character. Of course, a reader such as Harold Bloom had never left it, as his most recent book, The Anatomy of Influence, affirms. Bloom's Shakespeare is, unapologetically, the Shakespeare of Schlegel, Hazlitt, and Bradley. It is the Shakespeare of the grand rhetorical gesture, of the compelling personalities of figures on the stage, of the endurance of Shylock, Prospero, Falstaff, and Hamlet.68 It is a Shakespeare not far from Ervine's or, for that matter, from Auerbach's, and while many have claimed Auerbach as forebear - critics as different as Alvin Kernan, Fredric Jameson, Stephen Greenblatt, and Stephen G. Nichols - claiming Bloom as one of Auerbach's heirs may seem willfully perverse.69 But it would not be so on the broad canvas of the characterological. To care about character, in the formulation of Blakey Vermuele, is to respond in thoughtful and emotive ways to individuals who seem like us. We care, Ver meule argues, in part because we wish to know: because the creation of fictive selves sparks interest in the individual preoccupied with information, sensibility, and motive.70

But we care, too, not only about fictive but about scholarly selves. I find the ongoing fascination with Auerbach himself a fascination with his character. Auerbach has, throughout Mimesis, shaped himself as a literary persona as much as he has described others. He has figured himself against Shylock and Prospero. He put himself together out of turns and tropes of rhetoric and reading and against the idioms of the theatrical as well. To understand Auerbach's Shakespeare is to understand the edition he used, the passages he read, the critical traditions he absorbed. But it is also to understand Auerbach through Shakespeare, and to find in his vision of his rival Spitzer a Shylockian comedian he could not bear himself to be. The philological, as scholars have reminded us of late, is deeply political.71 But it is also deeply personal. And, if "our little life is rounded with a sleep," it is because, as Auerbach himself intuited, when we awake we realize that, in the world whose history we witness, no library is dukedom large enough.

University of California, San Diego


1 The major lines of biographical, critical, and intellectual study can be found in Seth Lerer, ed., Literary History and the Challenge of Philology: The Legacy of Erich Auerbach (Stanford U. Press, 1996); Karlheinz Barck and Martin Tremi, eds., Erich Auerbach: Geschichte und Aktualität eines europäischen Philologen (Berlin: Kadmos, 2007); and Kader Konuk, East West Mimesis: Auerbach in Turkey (Stanford U. Press, 2010).

2 Erich Auerbach, Mimesis: The Representation of Reality in Western Literature, trans. Willard R. Trask (Princeton U. Press, 1953), 537. All quotations from Mimesis will be from this edition. Quotations from the German text will be from Mimesis: dargestellte Wirklichkeit in der abendländischen Literatur, 2nd ed. (Berne: Francke, 1959), these quotations on p. 518.

3 "Leo Spitzer," Johns Hopkins Magazine (April 1952): 26; quoted in Konuk, East West Mimesis, 133.

4 See, e.g., Liselotte Dieckmann, "Akademische Emigranten in der Türkei," Verbannung: Aufzeichnungen deutscher Schriftsteller im Exil, ed. Egon Schwarz and Matthias Wegner (Hamburg: Christian Wegner, 1964), 125; Seth Lerer, Error and the Academic Self: The Scholarly Imagination, Medieval to Modern (Columbia U. Press, 2002), 221-59; and the contributions to Lerer, Literary History.

5 Edward Said, "Erich Auerbach, Critic of the Earthly World," Boundary 231 (2004): 1 1 -34.

6 Lerer, Error and the Academic Self, 258-59. All quotations from Shakespeare will be from the edition used by Auerbach himself, as I discuss below: The Complete Works of William Shakespeare, with an introduction by St. John Ervine (Glasgow: Collins, 1923); this quotation, The Tempest, 1.2.109-10.

7 Konuk, East West Mimesis, esp. 133-66.

8 Konuk, East West Mimesis, 143.

9 Konuk, East West Mimesis, 143.

10 Auerbach, Mimesis, 312-33 (chap. 13); German edition, 297-318.

11 James I. Porter, "Erich Auerbach and the Judaizing of Philology," Critical Inquiry 35 (2008): 116.

12 The exception is the first chapter, Odysseus' Scar," which offers no opening quotation, but instead a paraphrase of the Homeric passage.

13 Auerbach, Mimesis, 547; German edition, 509.

14 See Porter, "Erich Auerbach," 138, and Herbert Lindenberger, On the Reception of Mimesis" in Lerer, Literary History, 195-214. Curtius's review appeared as "Die Lehre von den drei Stilen in Altertum und Mittelalter (zu Auerbachs Mimesis)" Romanische Forschungen 64 (1952): 57-70; Wellek's review appeared as "Auerbach's Special Realism," Kenyon Review 16 (1954): 299-307.

15 Carl Landauer, "Auerbach's Performance and the American Academy, or How New Haven Stole the Idea of Mimesis" in Lerer, Literary History, 180-94. Auerbach, Mimesis, 556; German edition, 517.

16 For discussions of this chapter and Auerbach's critical and editorial methods, see Stephen G. Nichols, "Philology in Auerbach's Drama of (Literary) History," in Lerer, Literary History, 63-77, and Lerer, "Philology and Collaboration," in Lerer, Literary History, 78-91, revised and incorporated into Lerer, Error and the Academic Self 230-41.

17 Auerbach, Mimesis, 151; German edition, 145-46.

18 Auerbach, Mimesis, 440; German edition, 409.

19 Henry IV, Part 2, 2.2.1-17.

20 That bridge would not have existed in the first, 1946, edition of Mimesis. The chapter on Don Quixote was added in 1949 for the Spanish translation of the book, included in the English translation, and in the second edition of the German.

2 1 Auerbach, Mimesis, 318-30.

22 Landauer, "Auerbach's Performance," 185.

23 Heidi Brayman Hackel, "The 'Great Variety' of Readers and Early Modern Reading Practices," A Companion to Shakespeare, ed. David Kastan (Oxford: Blackwell, 1999), 145. See, too, David Kastan, Shakespeare and the Book (Cambridge U. Press, 2001).

24 David Bevington and Eric Rasmussen, eds., Christopher Marlowe: "Doctor Faustus" and Other Plays (Oxford U. Press, 1995), Doctor Faustus 1.1.

25 Andrew Murphy, Shakespeare in Print: A History and Chronology of Shakespeare Publishing (Cambridge U. Press, 2003), 237-39, 360.

26 There is no mention of the Collins edition of 1923 with Ervine's introduction in Murphy, Shakespeare in Print. I can find no mention of Ervine's introduction in any scholarship on Shakespeare criticism in the twentieth century.

27 Quoted and discussed in Cary DiPietro, Shakespeare and Modernism (Cambridge U. Press, 2006), 89-90.

28 DiPietro, Shakespeare and Modernism, 90.

29 John Gross, Shylock: Four Hundred Years in the Life of a Legend (London: Chatte and Windus, 1992), 170, 205-6; and John Russell Brown, "The Realization of Shylock: A Theatrical Criticism," reprinted in Harold Bloom, ed., Shylock (New York: Chelsea House 1991), 190.

30 Ervine, "Introduction," xxi-xxxii, xx; future page numbers in the text. Auerbach mispaginates his quotation in Mimesis, citing the introduction as beginning on xii, rather than on xxi (Mimesis, 318).

31 In "The Study of Poetry" ( 1 8 80), Matthew Arnold develops the method of quoting selected passages from "great masters" and applying them "as a touchstone to other poetry." Such a passage, he goes on, offers "an infallible touchstone for detecting the presence or absence of high poetic quality." Originally published as the General Introduction to T. H. Ward, ed., The English Poets (London: 1880), these quotations from xxv, xxvi.

32 Jonsons famous phrase appears in "To the memory of my beloved, The Author, Mr. William Shakespeare," printed in the prefatory matter of the First Folio and reprinted in the Collins 1923 edition.

33 Such editions would have included Israel Gollancz, The Works of William Shakespeare (London: Dent, 1894-96), W J. Craig and R. H. Case, general eds., The Arden Shakespeare (London: Methuen, 1899-1931); and Horace H. Furness et al., The Variorum Shakespeare (Philadelphia: J. P. Lippincott, 1871-1928).

34 Nichols, "Philology" 75-76.

35 Auerbach, Mimesis, 19-20; German edition, 22. The original phrasing in the German is "vor und während des gegenwärtigen (1942) Krieges," which Trask edited and changed to "before and during the last war." See Porter, "Erich Auerbach," 1 19-20.

36 Auerbach, Mimesis, 318; German edition, 303; Ervine, "Introduction," xxiv.

37 Auerbach, Mimesis, 319-19; German edition, 303.

38 See Paul Yachnin and Jessica Slights, eds., Shakespeare and Character: Theory, History, Performance, and Theatrical Persons (New York: Palgrave, 2009), and Dean ne Williams, "Iconic Characters," The Cambridge World Shakespeare Encyclopedia, ed. Bruce R. Smith (Cambridge U. Press, forthcoming). I am grateful to Professor Williams for providing me with a draft of her chapter and for valuable discussions throughout the writing and revising of this article.

39 See August William Schlegel, Lectures on the History of Literature, ed. John Frost, 2 vols. (Philadelphia: 1878), 2:145; William Hazlitt, Characters of Shakespeares Plays (London: 1817), vii. See also the material in A. C. Bradley, Shakespearean Tragedy: Lectures on Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, Macbeth (London: Macmillan, 1904); and the great riposte to post- Romantic character criticism, L. C. Knights, How Many Children Had Lady Macbeth? An Essay in the Theory and Practice of Shakespeare Criticism (Cambridge: Minority Press, 1933). See, too, Stephen Orgel, "What Is a Character," Text 8 (1995): 101-8.

40 Auerbach, Mimesis, 173; German edition, 166.

41 Auerbach, Mimesis, 320, 322, 330, 332; German edition, 303, 305.

42 Auerbach, Mimesis, 320, 314-15.

43 David Damrosch, "Auerbach in Exile," Comparative Literature 47 (1995): 103-4, with these quotations working from Carl Landauer, "Mimesis and Erich Auerbach's SeIfMythologizing," German Studies Review 11 (1988): 83-96.

44 From Lectures on Dramatic Art and Literature [ 1 809] , trans. John Black ( London: 1 846), 388-90, rpr. in Bloom, Shylock, 9-10.

45 See the material assembled in John Drakakis, ed., The Merchant of Venice (London: Methuen, 2010), 112-59.

46 See Gross, Shylock, 219-20, and the uniquely personal study of Kenneth Gross, Shylock Is Shakespeare (U. of Chicago Press, 2004).

47 See Lisa Lampert, Gender and Jewish Difference from Paul to Shakespeare (U. of Pennsylvania Press, 2005).

48 See Sander Gilman, The Jew s Body (New York: Routledge, 1991); Jonathan Boyarín and Daniel Boyarín, eds., Jews and Other Differences (Minneapolis: U. of Minnesota Press, 1997); and Andrea Most, "We Know We Belong to the Land: "The Theatricality of Assimilation in Rogers and Hammerstein's Oklahoma" PMLA 113 (1998): 77-89, and "'Big Chief Izzy Horowitz': Theatricality and Jewish Identity in the Wild West," American Jewish History 87 (1999): 313-41.

49 See Jonathan Wilson, Marc Chagall (New York: Schocken, 2007), 75-85, and Benjamin Harshav, The Moscow Yiddish Theater: Art on Stage in the Time of Revolution (Yale U Press, 2008), 3-56.

50 See Most, "We Know We Belong."

51 Sigmund Freud, Jokes and Their Relation to the Unconscious, trans. James Strachey (New York: Norton, 1989), 133. The German, originally published in 1905, reads: "Die Witze, die von Fremden über Juden gemacht werden, sind zu allermeist brutale Schwanke, in denen der Witz durch die Tatsache erspart wird, dass der Jude den Fremden als komische Figur gilt ___ Ich weiss übrigens nicht, ob est sonst noch häufig vorkommt, dass sich ein Volk in soldem Ausmass über sein eigenes Wesen lustig macht." From Der Witz und seine Beziehung zum Unbewussten, in Sigmund Freud, Stuthenausgabe, Band 4, Psychologische Schriften (Frankfurt am Main: S. Fischer, 1970), 106.

52 Konuk, East West Mimesis, 101.

53 Konuk, East West Mimesis, 109.

54 The letter, typed, is dated 3 March 1930. I am grateful to Professor Hans-Ulrich Gumbrecht for providing me with a copy. Gumbrecht translates and discusses this portion of the letter in his "Pathos of the Earthly Progress: Erich Auerbach's Everydays," in Lerer, Literary History, 23-24, 252n41. 1 modify Gumbrecht's translation here.

55 See Lerer, Error and the Academic Self, 269. For the text of "The Sandman" and the verbal parallels, see Hoffmann, Sämliche poetichen Werke (Berlin: Tempel, 1963), 612-13. Freud's famous reading and reflection on the many issues raised by this story form the basis of his essay "The Uncanny" ("Das Unheimliche," Imago 5 [1919]: 297-324).

56 Auerbach, Mimesis, 314; German edition, 299.

57 Auerbach, Mimesis, 315; German edition, 300.

58 See Dietrich Schwanitz, Bildung: Alles, was man wissen muss (Frankfurt am Main: Eichborn, 1999).

59 Auerbach, Mimesis, 315; German edition, 300.

60 The complexities of the relationship between Auerbach and Spitzer form part of the narrative in Hans-Ulrich Gumbrecht, Vom Leben und Sterben der grossen Romanisten: Carl Vossler, Ernst Robert Curtius, Leo Spitzer, Erich Auerbach, Werner Krauss (Munich: Carl Hanser, 2002). Note that the philologist Werner Krauss is not the same as the actor Werner Krauss.

61 Auerbach, Mimesis, 316; German edition, 301.

62 See Stephen Orgel, ed., The Tempest (Oxford U. Press, 1987), 80-83.

63 Discussed in Orgel, Tempest, 80-83.

64 Maximilian Harden, "The Genius of Max Reinhardt," Max Reinhardt and his Theater, ed. Oliver M. Sayler (New York: Brentanos, 1924), 209-40.

65 See Helga and Manfred Neumann, Maximilian Harden (1 861 -1 927) (Würzburg: Königshausen und Neumann, 2003). The New York Times story appeared in the issue of 30 May 1909.

66 Harden, "The Genius of Max Reinhardt," 210.

67 Auerbach, Mimesis, 326; German edition, 311.

68 Harold Bloom, The Anatomy of Influence: Literature as a Way of Life (Yale U. Press, 20 1 1 ).

69 See, e.g., Alvin Kernan, In Plato's Cave (Yale U. Press, 1999), esp. 108; Catherine Gallagher and Stephen Greenblatt, Practicing New Historicism (U. of Chicago Press, 2000), 31-47; Nichols, "Philology," 63-64; Fredric Jameson, The Prison-House of Language (Princeton U Press, 1972), 6.

70 Blakey Verme ule, Why DoWe Care about Literary Characters? (Johns Hopkins U. Press, 2009).

71 See Geoffrey Harp ham, "Roots, Races, and the Return to Philology," The Humanities and the Dream of America (U. of Chicago Press, 2011), 43-79.

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