Grammars of Creation

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Open Road Media, Apr 16, 2013 - Philosophy - 344 pages
“A fresh, revelatory, golden eagle’s eye-view of western literature.”Financial Times
Early in Grammars of Creation, George Steiner references Plato’s maxim that in “all things natural and human, the origin is the most excellent.” Creation, he argues, is linguistically fundamental in theology, philosophy, art, music, literature—central, in fact, to our very humanity. Since the Holocaust, however, art has shown a tendency to linger on endings—on sundown instead of sunrise. Asserting that every use of the future tense of the verb “to be” is a negation of mortality, Steiner draws on everything from world wars and the Nazis to religion and the word of God to demonstrate how our grammar reveals our perceptions, reflections, and experiences. His study shows the twentieth century to be largely a failed one, but also offers a glimpse of hope for Western civilization, a new light peeking just over the horizon.

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Grammars of creation: originating in the Gifford Lectures for 1990

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Steiner (Cambridge Univ., No Passion Spent, The Death of Tragedy) has written an important study on the nature of creation. He opens with the Book of Job and Plato's Timaeus as visions of creation in ... Read full review

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Dense intellectual exploration of creation. Read full review


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About the author (2013)

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. 

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