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Brilliant scholar of international renown: "He is saying things we cannot afford not to take note of"-TLS "Masterly and impressive" - Daily Telegraph "Seriousness without heaviness, learning without pedantry, and sober charm" - New Yorker

About the Author

Professor George Steiner is Charles Eliot Norton Professor of Poetry at Harvard University and Extraordinary Fellow of Churchill College at Cambridge University. He has been a regular contributor of reviews and articles to journals and newspapers including the New Yorker, the Times Literary Supplement and The Guardian. He lives in Cambridge.Previous titles:Errata (Bfmt Oct 98);Language and Silence;After Babel;The Death of Tragedy


Writer, philosopher, and literary critic Steiner (poetry, Harvard Univ.; Bluebeard's Castle) presents seven stories he has always wanted to write but never did, either because the subject matter was too painful for him to confront, it was beyond his abilities, or it was taboo. Steiner is an eloquent writer with a broad interdisciplinary knowledge and a keen ability to synthesize complex and seemingly incongruous information. Throughout, he touches on a generous array of subjects. The opening story, "Chinoiserie," describes the author's interactions with late British biochemist Joseph Needham-wondering at his intellect and giving a brief history of Needham's obsessive drive to compile the encyclopedic Science and Civilization in China. The other stories examine education systems vs. academic achievement; civic responsibility; and sex in German, Italian, French, and English. Readers of Steiner's works will revel in this book. For others, it will serve as a great introduction to this author's captivating writing. Highly recommended for all public and university libraries.-Mark Alan Williams, Lib. of Congress Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

wonderfully compelling... these chapters also read as a mixture of fiction and scholarship - THE INDEPENDENT - Bryan Cheyetteardent for the joyfulness of learning.. fierce for the personal significance of knowledge - THESAnyone familiar with the erudite George Steiner will know that anything he writes on literature, philosophy or culture is worth reading - METRO - Jonathan Gibbshis failures, as he plummets from this dizzy height, are more grandly vertiginous than the modest successes of others - OBSERVER - Peter Conradthe ability to acknowledge and describe greatness in others is one of Steiner's most attractive gifts - LITERARY REVIEW - Peter WashingtonFor those of us who can remember exactly where we were when we first read his greatest work, it is an extraordinary moment, a sense of an ending. - JEWISH CHRONICLE - David Hermanfascinating - INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY - Mark BostridgeThe fact that they have not been written is an unimportant oversight, a pardonable excess of modesty in such a joyful enterprise - The Spectator - Alberto Manguel

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