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

Daniel Mendelsohn, Bard College

April 20, 2021 · 4:30 pm · virtual

Program in European Cultural Studies; Humanities Council

The Program in European Cultural Studies (ECS) is delighted to announce that Daniel Mendelsohn will deliver the program’s 2nd annual Carl E. Schorske Memorial Lecture on April 20, 2021. The lecture is named in honor of the founding director of ECS, eminent historian Carl E. Schorske (1915-2015).

In his award-winning 2020 study Three Rings: A Tale of Exile, Narrative, and Fate, author and critic Daniel Mendelsohn pondered Erich Auerbach’s theories of narrative, focusing in particular on the great German-Jewish philologist’s comparison between Homeric and Biblical narrative style in the first chapter of Mimesis. In this lecture, Mendelsohn examines the novels of W. G. Sebald in order to tease out some implications of Auerbach’s exaltation of hypotactic over paratactic narrative, which is evident throughout Mimesis—except, curiously, in that first chapter. If hypotaxis is, as Auerbach suggests, a hallmark of literary sophistication and cultural superiority, what would he make of Sebald’s work, in which an excessive, even uncontrollable hypotaxis seems intended to mark the end of both meaning and history?

The virtual lecture is open to the public. Registration is required.
Please register here for the lecture with Daniel Mendelsohn.

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