George Steiner at The New Yorker

Overview

An education in a portmanteau: George Steiner at The New Yorker collects his best work from his more than 150 pieces for the magazine.
Between 1967 and 1997, George Steiner wrote more than 130 pieces on a great range of topics for The New Yorker, making new books, difficult ideas, and unfamiliar subjects seem compelling not only to intellectuals but to “the common reader.” He possesses a famously dazzling mind: paganism, the Dutch Renaissance, children’s games, war-time Britain,...

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George Steiner at The New Yorker

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Overview

An education in a portmanteau: George Steiner at The New Yorker collects his best work from his more than 150 pieces for the magazine.
Between 1967 and 1997, George Steiner wrote more than 130 pieces on a great range of topics for The New Yorker, making new books, difficult ideas, and unfamiliar subjects seem compelling not only to intellectuals but to “the common reader.” He possesses a famously dazzling mind: paganism, the Dutch Renaissance, children’s games, war-time Britain, Hitler’s bunker, and chivalry attract his interest as much as Levi-Strauss, Cellini, Bernhard, Chardin, Mandelstam, Kafka, Cardinal Newman, Verdi, Gogol, Borges, Brecht, Wittgenstein, Chomsky, and art historian/spy Anthony Blunt. Steiner makes an ideal guide from the Risorgimento in Italy to the literature of the Gulag, from the history of chess to the enduring importance of George Orwell. Again and again everything Steiner looks at in his New Yorker essays is made to bristle with some genuine prospect of turning out to be freshly thrilling or surprising.

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Editorial Reviews

Nick Tosches - Bookforum
“The essence of Steiner’s magic—I don’t really know what else to call it—has been his singular ability to articulate and elucidate, through nuance, allusion, and a peerless precision of language, those Phoebus-rays of wisdom that lie beyond wisdom and almost always elude words.”
The New York Times Book Review
“A keenly discriminating literary mind.”
The Christian Science Monitor
“A remarkably powerful writer.”
Jeff Simon - The Buffalo News
“[He] seems to know most things worth knowing and is acutely perceptive and energetically serious about them all.”
Publishers Weekly
Editor, author, and professor Boyers presents an important collection of work by author and social commentator George Steiner that first appeared in the pages of The New Yorker. Steiner's brilliance is revealed in every one of these essays, showcasing his vast topical knowledge alongside his deft ability to pin down the significance of history's most important people, events and ideas. Steiner hones in on figures often left in the background, such as Albert Speer, Hitler's architect and minister of armaments, who spent nearly 20 years in the prison Spandau. Steiner's 1983 examination of the George Orwell's 1984 is witty, detailed and authoritative, proving an insightful look at the novel's importance even after some 35 years of scholarly attention. Steiner's essays are each marvelously executed feats of synthesis, internalizing, interpreting and contrasting timeless events, literature and figures (including Graham Greene, Borges, chess playing and the OED). Steiner's intelligence and intuitiveness won't fail to impress, providing ample justification for his three decades as a powerful cultural critic.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780811217040
  • Publisher: New Directions Publishing Corporation
  • Publication date: 1/30/2009
  • Series: NEW DIRECTIONS PAPERBOOK
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 954,624
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 7.80 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Extraordinary Fellow of Churchill College at Cambridge University and the author of dozens of books (The Death of Tragedy, After Babel, Martin Heidegger, In Bluebeard’s Castle), George Steiner is one of the world’s foremost intellectuals.

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Table of Contents

Introduction Robert Boyers Boyers, Robert. 1

I History & Politics

"The Cleric of Treason" (on Anthony Blunt) 13

"Wien, Wien, Nur du Allein" (on Webern & Vienna) 47

"De Profundis" (on Solzhenitsyn's Gulag) 54

"Gods Spies" (on Graham Greene) 61

"From The House of the Dead" (on Albert Speer) 69

"De Mortuis" (on Aries & New French History) 78

II Writers and Writing

"One Thousand Years of Solitude" (on Salvatore Satta) 86

"Killing Time" (on George Orwell's 1984) 95

"Black Danube" (on Karl Kraus & Thomas Bernhard) 117

"B. B." (on Bertolt Brecht) 128

"Uneasy Rider" (on Robert M. Pirsig) 142

"Rare Bird" (on Guy Davenport) 148

"Dead Letters" (on John Barth) 157

"Tigers in the Mirror" (on Jorge Luis Borges) 162

"Of Nuance and Scruple" (on Samuel Beckett) 176

"Under Eastern Eyes" (on Alexander Solzhenitsyn & Other Russians) 186

"Cat Man" (on Louis-Ferdinand Celine) 199

III Thinkers

"The Friend of a Friend" (on Walter Benjamin & Gershom Scholem) 208

"Bad Friday" (on Simone Weil) 219

"The Lost Garden" (on Claude Levi-Strauss) 230

"Short Shrift" (on E. M. Cioron) 239

"Ancient Glittering Eyes" (on Bertrand Russell) 249

"A Tale of Three Cities" (on Elias Canetti) 260

"La Morte D'Arthur" (on Arthur Koestler) 270

"The Tongues of Man" (on Noam Chomsky) 276

IV Life Studies

"A Death of Kings" (on Chess) 295

"Give The Word" (on James Murray & The OED) 306

"An Examined life" (on Robert Hutchins & The University of Chicago) 316

Appendix All George Steiner's Essays in The New Yorker 325

Index 331

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