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A very fine book that, although it doesn't wear its considerable learning lightly, at least makes its erudition appealing. Steiner is a wonderful old humanist with an unequaled grasp of European culture, particularly from the Renaissance on. He is at home in the principal languages and has much to say about their role in shaping thought and mediating the literary impulse. One of the most valuable insights in the book comes when Steiner argues that the purpose of having a language distinct from others is precisely to render one culture opaque to another and thereby preserve its distinctive achievements: us language is a conservative force. He has much to say about translation, and along the way offers some insightful readings of works original and translated.
I very much like his memoir Errata and his study Antigones, about the cultural impact of Sophocles's great play.
 

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Whorf-Sapir Hypothesis

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