George Stein­er at the New Yorker

George Stein­er; Robert Boy­ers, ed.
  • Review
By – December 5, 2011
In his essay on the historian/​philosopher Ger­shom Sholem, George Stein­er enu­mer­ates some of the gifts and qual­i­ties schol­ar­ship requires: exceed­ing con­cen­tra­tion, a capa­cious but minute­ly pre­cise mem­o­ry, finesse and a sort of pious skep­ti­cism in the han­dling of evi­dence and source, clar­i­ty of presentation…the tru­ly great schol­ar becomes one with his mate­r­i­al, how­ev­er abstruse, how­ev­er recon­dite.…” This col­lec­tion of Steiner’s essays writ­ten for The New York­er between 1967 and 1997 offers abun­dant proof that Steiner’s own work exem­pli­fied pre­cise­ly these qual­i­ties. Steiner’s sub­jects range from lin­guis­tics, lit­er­a­ture, art, his­to­ry, archi­tec­ture, pol­i­tics, Greek philoso­phers, and reli­gions to bio­graph­i­cal cri­tiques of great men and infa­mous ones. His analy­ses of well-known works, such as 1984, or of a clas­sic poet like Celine, cre­ate new and high­ly orig­i­nal paths of think­ing. This extra­or­di­nary col­lec­tion of essays will be enjoyed by all intel­li­gent read­ers wish­ing to con­tin­ue their intel­lec­tu­al growth.
Eleanor Ehrenkranz received her Ph.D. from NYU and has taught at Stern Col­lege, NYU, Mer­cy Col­lege, and at Pace Uni­ver­si­ty. She has lec­tured wide­ly on Jew­ish lit­er­a­ture and recent­ly pub­lished anthol­o­gy of Jew­ish poet­ry, Explain­ing Life: The Wis­dom of Mod­ern Jew­ish Poet­ry, 1960 – 2010.

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