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George Steiner at The New Yorker [Format Kindle]

George Steiner

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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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  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 1074 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 331 pages
  • Editeur : New Directions (30 janvier 2009)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B00BNQRPGM
  • Synthèse vocale : Activée
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  • Word Wise: Non activé
  • Composition améliorée: Activé
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: n°215.037 dans la Boutique Kindle (Voir le Top 100 dans la Boutique Kindle)
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Amazon.com: 5.0 étoiles sur 5  3 commentaires
11 internautes sur 12 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Moments of clarity in a cluttered and chaotic world 17 décembre 2009
Par Caponsacchi - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
The lavish descriptions bestowed upon Steiner--a polymath, a Renaissance man, the founder of a new school of multidisciplinary criticism, a multi-linguist who is as comfortable speaking in the symbols of mathematics as the signifiers of his reputed mother tongues (German, English and French) not to mention the "dead" languages of ancient Greek and Latin--have more often than not done him a disservice in the decidedly anti-intellectual milieu of our times. Then, too, there's the centrality of the Holocaust to his experience, helping shape a sensibility that is still capable of being not merely appalled but genuinely shocked that the instigators of man's inhumanity to man should be cut out of cloth not all that different from his own.

But Steiner's closeness to the atrocities of his own ethnic past acts paradoxically as a distancing lens affording the rest of us a perspective on the intellectual and moral bankruptcy of our own time. He knows about the dangers of nationalism and aggression, and is never one to sacrifice the life of the mind to the exigencies of what may appear to be in the national interest. Injustice must be met at its source, which is human language. Hence, rather than risk Balkanization in space or time, he rejects Jewish nationalism as well as American isolationism, demonstrating in his writings the unbounded freedom to be found in the cultures, art and literature of the past, all the while bringing these interests into harmony with the projects of modern philosophy and science.

Don't read this collection of essays as the loud, proud effusions of a brilliant mind, or that's all they'll be. Rather, try to read them as a travelogue and guide for the culturally deprived, or merely the curious. Whether the subject is war-time Britain, Hitler, medieval chivalry, Straussian anthropology, Chardin, Kafka, Cardinal Newman, Verdi, Gogol, Borges, Brecht, Wittgenstein, or Chomsky, trust Steiner to be up to the task of sorting it out and making sense of it. As a practitioner of Orwell's tenets in "Politics and the English Language" the last thing he wants to do is to obfuscate and to "show off"--to impress, perhaps, but by providing sufficient difficulty to assure the reader will work hard enough for the impression to run deep, for it to be "earned," in other words. Above all, be wary of the trap of separating the thoughts from the language ("he has a brilliant mind but the language is dense and boring"). Just trust him. Meaning is by necessity a function of form--not something that can be separated from language. Steiner packs as much meaning into a sentence as it can bear out of consideration for the reader, knowing full well that the unpardonable sin is to waste his or her time.
2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Quintessential Steiner 28 mai 2014
Par Richard B. Schwartz - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
Steiner was a regular contributor to the New Yorker for approximately 30 years (1966-1997). This collection is not exhaustive, but it includes many excellent pieces, among them those on Anthony Blunt, Chomsky, Sir James Murray, Robert Maynard Hutchins, Albert Speer, Orwell, Brecht, Borges, Beckett, Bertrand Russell and Arthur Koestler. Most are reviews of books with excursuses, in the 19thc manner. Most are ‘positive’ though some are not (e.g. the piece on John Barth). Many are ‘mixed’ (e.g. the piece on Celine).

Steiner is, of course, working within page constraints. With the exception of the long piece on the art historian/traitor Anthony Blunt, most are brief (8-10 pp.) but nonetheless trenchant. They are generally more accessible pieces than some of the denser arguments within his major books.

They are, of course, never dull, and the format in which he is working permits him to offer a whole host of interesting asides. I love the bon-mots, e.g. his comments (p. 175) on “the loud graffiti of erotic and political emancipation that currently pass for fiction and poetry” or his comment (p. 243, writing in 1984), that “we seem to be governed by more or less mendacious dwarfs and mountebanks.” While he can be curmudgeonly he can also be worshipful, as in the lovely piece on Hutchins and that on the friendship between Gershom Scholem and Walter Benjamin.

This is a must-read for every reader interested in Steiner and for anyone interested in 20thc thought, art and culture.

Highly recommended.
17 internautes sur 25 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Steiner Agonistes 17 mars 2009
L'évaluation d'un enfant - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
I highly recommend this volume to anyone who enjoys social and literary criticism at its best. George Steiner, who turns eighty this year, is one of the western world's keenest and most eloquent intellectuals and essayists. The New Yorker pieces, mostly book reviews, are a splendid sample of his work.

Mr. Steiner's prose is pyrotechnic, his paragraphs and sentences dense with meaning. His style, rich and erudite, may not appeal to everyone. But his insights and nuanced recreation of our intellectual and aesthetic past is a feast.

His review devoted to Britain's Curator of Art, Anthony Blunt, is a masterpiece of irony. His work is not stodgy. His analysis of the poems of Paul Celan's (born Paul Antschel) and their concise evocation of the Holocaust is both studied and emotional. The subject bears upon Mr. Steiner's most painful aesthetic conflict. From his own telling, nothing has preoccupied him more than how a nation of such hoch kultur, Germany, could exact such evil.

Buy the book, by all means. But I cannot refrain from commenting further.

I find George Steiner's intellectual dilemma painfully authentic. It is a great pity it is unfounded. Germany's bent for militancy and evil is neither mysterious nor contradictory. At the time of World War II and before it, from the time of its unification, German culture was not high at all. Bach, Schubert, and Goethe are not representative; far from it. In every sense of the word, they are exceptional. It is disturbing to me that Mr. Steiner equates the culture of a nation with that of a handful of brilliant musicians and writers.

Centuries prior to the world wars, as liberal thought and democratic politics were rising in much of non-Germanic Europe, Germany, brutalized by the Thirty Years War, remained largely feudal, a society of insulated guilders and farmers. As the German states unified, the German identity emerged: industrious, obedient, and self-absorbed. As, Isaiah Berlin writes, their very literature cues us in on how they felt: aesthetically behind in contrast to the highly visible and recognized mathematicians, scientists, writers, and painters of England, France, Belgium, Holland, and Italy, Germany assumed its own version of national superiority, the perfectly immeasurable Dionysian German soul. If we cannot be that (Classical), then we will be this (Romantic) - which is surpassing. As Thomas Mann wrote in 1914, the German war against Belgium and France would soon demonstrate "the superiority of the German soul over numbers." Indeed, is there a greater example of the illogical and narcissistic than Germany's claim in 1914 that Belgian uprisings - as the German army was raping the country - amounted to war crimes, and that German regiments were within international law to murder civilians by the hundreds in reprisal.

I leave it to other readers to absorb the documentation and history of the German people and their awful self-regard. (Their philosophers after Kant are especially revealing.) I am no scholar, but I find nothing inconsistent about Germans murdering some 11,000,000 people and destroying an entire continent. That Mr. Steiner is tortured by German's marching their prisoners to the gas chambers to the strains of Beethoven, to me, is numbing and disappointing. It taints everything he has produced.
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