George Steiner

Francis George Steiner (born April 23, 1929), is an influential European-born American literary critic, essayist, philosopher, novelist, translator, and educator

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A chess genius is a human being who focuses vast, little-understood mental gifts and labors on an ultimately trivial human enterprise.
Each new historical era mirrors itself in the picture and archive mythology of its past or of a past borrowed from other cultures. It tests its sense of identity, of regress or new achievement, against that past.
It is not the literal past that rules us, save, possibly, in a biological sense. It is images of the past.
It is not the literal past that rules us, save, possibly, in a biological sense. It is images of the past. Each new historical era mirrors itself in the picture and active mythology of its past or of a past borrowed from other cultures. It tests its sense of identity, of regress or new achievement against that past.
Language can only deal meaningfully with a special, restricted segment of reality. The rest, and it is presumably the much larger part, is silence.
Men are accomplices to that which leaves them indifferent.
The age of the book is almost gone.
The immense majority of human biographies are a gray transit between domestic spasm and oblivion.
The journalistic vision sharpens to the point of maximum impact every event, every individual and social configuration but the honing is uniform.
The violent illiteracies of the graffiti, the clenched silence of the adolescent, the nonsense cries from the stage-happening, are resolutely strategic. The insurgent and the freak-out have broken off discourse with a cultural system which they despise as a cruel, antiquated fraud. They will not bandy words with it. Accept, even momentarily, the conventions of literate linguistic exchange, and you are caught in the net of the old values, of the grammars that can condescend or enslave.
There is something terribly wrong with a culture inebriated by noise and gregariousness.
To many men... the miasma of peace seems more suffocating than the bracing air of war.
We know that a man can read Goethe or Rilke in the evening, that he can play Bach and Schubert, and go to his day's work at Auschwitz in the morning.
Words that are saturated with lies or atrocity, do not easily resume life.

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