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Summary Article: Steiner, (Francis) George (1929– )
From The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide

French-born US critic and writer. His books, which focus on the relationships between the arts, culture, and society, include The Death of Tragedy (1961); In Bluebeard's Castle (1971), four lectures about culture from the French Revolution onwards; the controversial novella The Portage to San Cristobal of A.H. (1981); and the short-story Proofs and Three Parables (1992), which won the PEN/Macmillan Fiction Prize.

Other works of fiction include Tolstoy or Dostoevsky (1958), a critical analysis of the two great masters of the Russian novel; Language and Silence: Essays 1958–1966 (1967); a book on translation, After Babel (1975), which was televised in 1977 as The Tongues of Men; Real Presences (1989), in which he argues that all art forms are grounded in a transcendental reality; and No Passion Spent: Essays 1978–96 (1996). An autobiographical work, Errata: an Examined Life, was published in 1997. He has been a regular contributor of reviews and articles to journals and newspapers, some of which were collected in a 2008 publication, George Steiner at The New Yorker.

Steiner was born in Paris to Austrian Jewish parents. He became a US citizen in 1944 and studied at the University of Chicago (BA 1948) and Harvard (MA 1950), and also at Balliol College, Oxford, in the UK (PhD 1955). Living much of his life in Europe, he worked at The Economist in London in the 1950s, before returning to the USA to embark on an academic career, beginning at Princeton. He was professor of English and comparative literature at the University of Geneva 1974–94, and later a professor of comparative European literature at the University of Oxford 1994–95 and professor of poetry at Harvard 2001–02.


Steiner, (Francis) George

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