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The Horst Frenz Prize Citations 2013

2013 Prize Winner:

Be it known that Veli Yashin of Columbia University is the winner of the 2013 Horst Frenz Prize for the best presentation by a graduate student at the annual meeting of the American Comparative Literature Association, which, in 2012, was held at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island.

The Horst Frenz Prize for 2013 goes to Veli Yashin (Columbia University) for his essay, “Euro(tro)pology: Philology, World Literature, and the Legacy of Erich Auerbach”. The title combines Auerbach’s word, Europäologie (“Europology”) with a coinage of the author: “Eurotropology”: the first refers to the study of Europe; the second to the idea of Europe as a mythological and historical construct. Yashin reminds us that Auerbach was conscious that, in Auerbach’s words, “European civilization is nearing the limit of its existence; its history as a distinct and self-contained entity would seem to be at an end.” Auerbach’s ambition was “to undertake the attempt to comprehend that historical unity while it is a living reality and while our consciousness of it is still alive.” Yashin shows that, for Auerbach, to “comprehend” Europe was both to circumscribe it and to find its epitomes, text and contexts that are not merely representative but illuminate the whole of Europe as a historical fact and as a philological concept. Under Yashin’s incisive gaze, Auerbach emerges as a prophetic observer of a “crisis in history” he predicts what we now call “globalization”. “Our earth, the world of Weltliteratur,” he writes, “is growing smaller and losing in diversity.” In Yashin’s hands, the author of Mimesis emerges as a profound theorist of language and of history, a figure of considerable intellectual and philosophical gravitas.

The American Comparative Literature Association takes pride in making this award to Veli Yashin, and congratulates him on his outstanding achievement.

2013 Frenz Prize Committee:
Eugene Eoyang, Lingnan University and Indiana University (Chair)
Virginia Jackson (Tufts),
Kathleen Komar (UCLA)