George Steiner, one of the great literary minds of our century, here relates the story of his own life and the ways that people, places, and events have colored the central ideas and themes of his work. Brilliant and witty, his memoir reveals Steiner's thoughts on the meaning of the western tradition and its philosophic and religious premises. Selected as a 1998 Notable Book of the Year by the New York Times Book Review "One of our great literary and cultural critics reflects on his life and the themes that have aroused his passion. . . . A beautifully written and intensely stimulating book."-Kirkus Reviews "No prominent critic shows us better why the great books matter and how to bring to our reading of them what concentration and awareness we're capable of."-Stephen Goode, Washington Times "This intriguing and thoughtful book is, and is not, Steiner's autobiography. Writing about his ideas comes more naturally to him than writing about his lived experience."-Victoria Glendinning, The Telegraph "A minor literary masterpiece."-Scott Stossel, Boston Phoenix Winner of the Truman Capote Lifetime Achievement Award in Literary Criticism in 1999 George Steiner was recently Lord Weidenfeld Visiting Professor of Comparative Literature at Oxford University. He reviews for the Times Literary Supplement and other American and European journals. He is the author of numerous books that have been translated into a dozen languages.
George Steiner has written a great many books during his long and distinguished career as a literary critic, essayist, philosopher, novelist, translator, and educator. He was professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of Geneva, Lord Weidenfeld Professor of Comparative Literature and Fellow of St Anne's College at Oxford University, and Norton Professor of Poetry at Harvard University.