Auerbach's Vico in Translation

Friday, February 24, 2023, 9:30 am11:45 am


Event Description

A Symposium with Jane O. Newman and Ron Sadan at Princeton University

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” for the eighteenth-century Neapolitan, as he put it in 1922? 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!


Readings and RSVP here. RSVP requested by February 21.





  • Program in Translation & Intercultural Communiation
  • German Department
  • Princeton Center for Language Study
  • Center for Renaissance & Early Modern Studies
  • Department of Art & Archaeology
  • Program in Judaic Studies
  • Department of English
  • Department of French & Italian
  • Interdisciplinary Doctoral program in the Humanities
Event Category