In Bluebeard's Castle

In Bluebeard's Castle : Some Notes Towards the Redefinition of Culture

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"Four impressive lectures about the culture of recent times (from the French Revolution) and the conceivable culture of times to come. Mr. Steiner's discussion of the break with the traditional literary past (Jewish, Christian, Greek, and Latin) is illuminating and attractively undogmatic. He writes as a man sharing ideas, and his original notions, though scarcely cheerful, have the bracing effect that first-rate thinking always has." -New Yorker "In Bluebeard's Castle is a brief and brilliant book. An intellectual tour de force, it is also a book that should generate a profound excitement and promote a profound the great culturalists of the past. Steiner uses a dense and plural learning to assess his topic: his book has the outstanding quality of being not simply a reflection on culture, but an embodiment of certain contemporary resources within it. The result is one of the most important books I have read for a very long time."-New Societyshow more

Product details

  • Paperback | 154 pages
  • 124.46 x 198.12 x 10.16mm | 68.04g
  • Yale University Press
  • New Haven, United States
  • English
  • New edition
  • New edition
  • black & white illustrations
  • 0300017103
  • 9780300017106
  • 87,323

Review Text

In 1971 who talks of "culture," an elitist, separatist, dirty word? There is danger in remembering Eden, only to point out its blights and gypsy moths; not even Steiner can manage the job. His flawed Eden is set in Europe, after the Peace of Vienna, a rotten fruit, sucked on by Baudelaire, Stendahl, Berlioz. It is too bad that a writer so learned, verbal, and elegant has sold his soul to the devil he has excluded from his cosmogony. Lord Snow's two cultures are abandoned. There is only one, the computer's; it is Lord of the Universe, and LOGOS the word has been undone and there is no health in us. All this is written with such learning and grandeur that it almost convinces; who O who can refute, let alone persuade, George Sterner? But we had better refute him, or die. Music might prove his Achilles' tendon. "Is there a lie anywhere in Mozart?" was written by someone who has never considered the character of the Queen of the Night. We are asked to listen henceforwards to the music of scientists (the composers) and computers (their instruments), and admire the little we can understand of tire opus, as we bone up on binary systems. The sting of this book is in its fourth, last, chapter. Having persuaded us in the first three that we are justified in suffering from angst, he urges us finally to feed the hand that bites us. A pernicious book. (Kirkus Reviews)show more