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Write a review Rate this item: 1 2 3 4 5. Preview this item Preview this item. Because intimacies and indiscretions were too threatening. No discretion?

The Complete Works of Winston S. Churchill, all in first edition.

Yet strangely, there is another essay bemoaning the lack of privacy and absence of discretion in our modern world. Essays on Zionism and our love for animals are tendentious and boring. The essay "Invidia" is among the best, about the jealousies that also-rans in academia, art, science, etc.

The essay "Chinoiserie" is also good. It discusses the strange intellectual Joseph Needham, author of a 30 volume work entitled "Science and Civilization in China" in the context of the slipperiness of fact and fiction. In suggesting how Needham's massive work of history, science, and analytical scholarship might be considered fiction, and in comparing it to other scholarly works so passionate, so "autistic" in their rigorous documentation that they become almost surreal and hallucinatory, Steiner displays the ingenuity, deftness, sparkly prose, and, maybe for lack of a better term, relevance that is missing from many of the other essays.

I actually found myself wishing he had written that book. View all 3 comments. Apr 22, Hol added it. Each of the seven chapters covers a book Steiner had hoped to write but did not. The only one I wished were a full-length work was the chapter on forgotten poet Cecco d'Ascoli and the nature of envy. Just as I was thinking Steiner's entire life took place in the mind Each of the seven chapters covers a book Steiner had hoped to write but did not. Just as I was thinking Steiner's entire life took place in the mind, I got to the chapter on language and sexuality, which details the polyglot erotic adventures of his youth he had the most fun in bed, linguistically anyway, in Italian.

En un gesto encantador Steiner escribe siete textos largos sobre temas a los que le hubiera gustado dedicar un libro entero. May 17, Kevin rated it liked it. Steiner's range of reference is the whole of Western and a fair amount of Eastern science, literature, history, art, music, and philosophy. This often made me feel like I'd been given an aerial view of topics I've only had access to from ant's-eye level. Occasionally, his style makes his arguments seem fatuous, and I felt like I was in the presence of an inescapable gasbag. Mar 30, Douglas rated it really liked it. I have been reading George for forty years and savour his prose.

This book is an enjoyable read but doesnt really say anything new except that he misses God not being around any more. He is a bit silly about his sex life which will upset his wife. Apr 19, Brian rated it it was ok. This is a good example of how a great idea for a book doesn't necessarily translate into a great book. The essays on envy and multi-lingual loving are the highlights. The others are a bit of a slog.

Cada "libro no escrito" trata de cavilaciones, a mi modo de ver, compartidas por todos. Mar 20, Scott Whittaker rated it liked it.

My Unwritten Books - AbeBooks - George Steiner:

The first three chapters are incredible, but after that the quality drops dramatically. Sep 05, Richard Wu rated it really liked it. One must be curious. Envy, sex, linguistics, Jewish identity, the historiography of Chinese scientism, intersectional international educational standards, animal love, political participation, the existence of God… Central to Steiner, and perhaps to the authorial ethos writ large, is the idea that there remains something to be said.

Almost by definition we live quotidian lives, unaware of the grave and grand implications suggested by our every action. Writers, hyperconscious, have throughout history served to illuminate these suggestions and their multifold potentialities. And although the map can never be perfect, a high sage of comparative literature such as Steiner is in a unique position to identify where these unmapped territories lie.

Steiner is a neophile, highly open to new experiences and new ways of experiencing. On a more poetic level, by proxy of being alive Steiner has a front-row seat to his own obsolescence. His greatest hope - the proliferation of content - must then also be his greatest fear.


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It is a double-edged sword which enriches us with effective infinities of entertainment while slashing the very concept of comprehensive comparison. Total cultural mastery is impossible; does Sisyphus imagine himself happy? Yet Steiner still believes there are things to be said, positively said. Most of them point to ego fragility. To be a contemporary playwright when Shakespeare is out to lunch? He can quicken to deserved life what has been censored or overlooked. It is a blessed condition.

It is, nonetheless, strictly secondary and auxiliary. A-minus at the very best. Even their urine had ceased. For two days, they had prayed to almighty God. No reply. On the final day, they called for help to Harry Potter and his favorite Wizard. This seems to me as close as we can get to the truth of the human situation. I picked up: syncretism, onanism, coruscate, rebarbative, elide, Invidia who knew the graphics card company took its name from this?

Jan 22, James rated it really liked it Shelves: writing , essays , lit-criticism. In Alberto Manguel's wonderful compendium of libraries, The Library at Night , he writes: "We can imagine the books we'd like to read, even if they have not yet been written, and we can imagine libraries full of books we would like to possess, even if the are well beyond our reach, because we enjoy dreaming up a library that reflects every one of our interests and every one of our foibles--a library that, in its variety and complexity, fully reflects the reader we are.

In My Unwritten Books he imagines seven books that he did not write, but would have written if only he had not met some insurmountable physical, intellectual or psychological obstacle that prevented him from doing so. The essays describing these books are mini-books in themselves with excursions into such disparate worlds as the multiple languages of sex, the claims of Zionism, the natures of exile and a theology of emptiness.

My favorite among the essays is his personal excursion into the nature of education, "School Terms". Beginning with his own anarchic education that saw the onset of his school life with three languages while studying in Manhattan and France. All this before spending his university years at the University of Chicago and Harvard and completing his graduate work at Oxford.

He contrasts the differences between education in France orderly and America anarchic and moves on to a brief commentary on some of the changes that these systems, especially in Great Britain are currently undergoing. With a flick of his pen, he highlights educational philosophies and movements from Locke and Rousseau through the battle between humanities and science of C.

Snow whose polemics he decries. But this is used as a catalyst for his own thoughts on education. We must first consider what literacy means in our technological age with the immanent rise of "artificial intelligence" and the ubiquity of the internet.

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Steiner concludes that "the hope of preserving or resuscitating humanistic literacy in any traditional mode" is illusory. Yet, he goes on to suggest a "utopian" plan or outline of a core curriculum that will provide to arouse the "awareness interactive with the demands and fascination of the world". Aimed at challenging the senses to "embody an incommensurable potential for fun, play, and aesthetic delight. Homo ludens is enlisted to the turbulent heart of his being. But it is exciting and challenging as George Steiner engages with the reader in sharing ideas in these notes for his "unwritten books".


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  5. For even greater stimulation I would encourage readers to engage in his written books. His works are part of my own partially realized ideal library. By this I mean the sort of ideal that is characterized best by Alberto Manguel in another of his fascinating books, A Reader on Reading , where he writes: "The ideal library is meant for one particular reader. Every reader must feel that he or she is the chosen one. I should have waited to read George Steiner.

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    Uma maravilha. Natural num professor. I can't remember where I heard about this, but I grabbed it when I saw it in Poundland! And what a pound well spent. A challenging read. Wordy and at times threatening to lose me, but well worth persevering with.

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    Steiner writes with faith and passion and even when dealing with things I didn't know I cared about he pulled me in. My favourite chapters were those about animal, education and love in other languages. I think more people could benefit from condensing their ideas in this way, rather tha I can't remember where I heard about this, but I grabbed it when I saw it in Poundland!

    I think more people could benefit from condensing their ideas in this way, rather than filling entire books with rather stretched premises. At times I was almost cheering at the thought that someone else out there shared some of the same beliefs as me. And I can sleep a little easier at night, knowing there are intelligent minds still out there somewhere keeping the flame of knowledge, unashamed knowledge alight!

    I've never met Professor Steiner, although I'd recognize him in a moment. Perhaps a different name, but the ivory tower follows one across the seas and throughout the land. I love to learn, and I'm thrilled by intellectual stimulation. Similar to a sexual experience, it's generally improved by two souls who genuinely love each other.

    When one of those players exudes an impression that his participation makes yours transcendent, the union is rather hollow. Which is what this book did for me. I tr I've never met Professor Steiner, although I'd recognize him in a moment. I tried to lie back and give him the benefit if the doubt, convincing myself I'd be a better person for respecting his intellect, but he didn't need me in the slightest.