My Unwritten BooksHardback
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- Paperback $11.44
- Publisher: WEIDENFELD & NICOLSON
- Format: Hardback | 224 pages
- Dimensions: 143mm x 224mm x 23mm | 383g
- Publication date: 24 January 2008
- Publication City/Country: London
- ISBN 10: 0297853309
- ISBN 13: 9780297853305
- Sales rank: 770,977
In this fiercely original and audacious work, George Steiner tells of seven books which he did not write. Because intimacies and indiscretions were too threatening. Because the topic brought too much pain. Because its emotional or intellectual challenge proved beyond his capacities. The actual themes range widely and defy conventional taboos: the torment of the gifted when they live among, when they confront, the very great; the experience of sex in different languages; a love for animals greater than for human beings; the costly privilege of exile; a theology of emptiness. Yet a unifying perception underlies this diversity. The best we have or can produce is only the tip of the iceberg. Behind every good book, as in a lit shadow, lies the book which remained unwritten, the one that would have failed better.
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Professor George Steiner is Charles Eliot Norton Professor of Poetry at Harvard University and Extraordinary Fellow of Churchill College at Cambridge University. His non-fiction includes Tolstoy or Dostoevsky, a critical analysis of the two great masters of the Russian novel, The Death of Tragedy, In Bluebeard's Castle, After Babel and No Passion Spent: Essays 1978-96. He is also the author of a number of works of fiction including Proofs and Three Parables and The Portage to San Cristobal of AH, which was adapted for the stage by Christopher Hampton. A volume of autobiography, Errata: an Examined Life, was published in 1997. Grammars of Creation discusses a range of subjects from cosmology to poetry. 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.
'wonderfully compelling... these chapters also read as a mixture of fiction and scholarship' -- Bryan Cheyette THE INDEPENDENT "ardent for the joyfulness of learning. fierce for the personal significance of knowledge" THES "Anyone familiar with the erudite George Steiner will know that anything he writes on literature, philosophy or culture is worth reading" -- Jonathan Gibbs METRO "his failures, as he plummets from this dizzy height, are more grandly vertiginous than the modest successes of others" -- Peter Conrad OBSERVER "the ability to acknowledge and describe greatness in others is one of Steiner's most attractive gifts" -- Peter Washington LITERARY REVIEW "For 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." -- David Herman JEWISH CHRONICLE "fascinating" -- Mark Bostridge INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY "The fact that they have not been written is an unimportant oversight, a pardonable excess of modesty in such a joyful enterprise" -- Alberto Manguel The Spectator "This is all richly argued, meditative and yields intellectual nourishment and prompts admiration." -- Robert Giddings Tribune "scintillating, seductive" -- David Martin TLS