A collection of essays and articles about the life of language, and its role in a world where words are used to manipulate as often as they are used to convey meaning
Language and Silence is a book about language—and politics, meaning, silence, and the future of literature. Originally published between 1958 and 1966, the essays that make up this collection ponder whether we have passed out of an era of verbal primacy and into one of post-linguistic forms—or partial silence. Steiner explores the idea of the abandonment of contemporary literary criticism, from the classics to the works of William Shakespeare, Lawrence Durell, Thomas Mann, Leon Trotsky, and more.
“A keenly discriminating literary mind at work on what it loves.” —The New York Times Book Review
“An extraordinarily sharp, brilliant, and thoughtful discussion of the strange conditions into which modern writing has worked itself . . . Very few writers today have as much that is worthwhile to say on today’s writing as does the author.” —The Christian Science Monitor
“Whoever has valued and needed this book for its insights into some one particular matter . . . will upon rereading discover the astounding breadth of attention in [it]: from Homer to Thomas Mann, from Marshall McLuhan to The Warsaw Diary of Chaim Kaplan. In each of these essays, a single sentence, and often more than one, can endlessly provoke and illuminate thought.” —John Felstiner
George Steiner, author of dozens of books (including The Death of Tragedy, After Babel, Martin Heidegger, In Bluebeard’s Castle, My Unwritten Books, George Steiner at the New Yorker, and The Poetry of Thought), is one of the world’s foremost intellectuals. He has been professor emeritus of English and comparative literature at the University of Geneva, professor of comparative literature and fellow at the University of Oxford, and professor of poetry at Harvard University. He lives in Cambridge, England, where he has been an Extraordinary Fellow at Churchill College at the University of Cambridge since 1969.