29 Total Quotes

George Steiner Quotes

[The] most important tribute any human being can pay to a poem or a piece of prose he or she really loves is to learn it by heart. Not by brain, by heart; the expression is vital.
George Steiner Permalink
#Learning

The journalistic vision sharpens to the point of maximum impact every event, every individual and social configuration; but the honing is uniform.
George Steiner Permalink
#American Critic

Pornographers subvert this last, vital privacy; they do our imagining for us. They take away the words that were of the night and shout them over the roof-tops, making them hollow.
George Steiner Permalink
#Pornography #Privacy

Language can only deal meaningfully with a special, restricted segment of reality. The rest, and it is presumably the much larger part, is silence.
George Steiner Permalink
#American Critic #Language

To shoot a man because one disagrees with his interpretation of Darwin or Hegel is a sinister tribute to the supremacy of ideas in human affairs -- but a tribute nevertheless.
George Steiner Permalink
#Dissent #Man

We know that a man can read Goethe or Rilke in the evening, that he can play Bach and Schubert, and go to his day's work at Auschwitz in the morning.
George Steiner Permalink
#American Critic

It is not the literal past that rules us, save, possibly, in a biological sense. It is images of the past. Each new historical era mirrors itself in the picture and active mythology of its past or of a past borrowed from other cultures. It tests its sense of identity, of regress or new achievement against that past.
George Steiner Permalink
#Past

To many men... the miasma of peace seems more suffocating than the bracing air of war.
George Steiner Permalink
#Men #American Critic

Men are accomplices to that which leaves them indifferent.
George Steiner Permalink
#Men #American Critic

Words that are saturated with lies or atrocity, do not easily resume life.
George Steiner Permalink
#American Critic #Lies And Lying

Books - the best antidote against the marsh-gas of boredom and vacuity.
George Steiner Permalink
#Books And Reading

The ordinary man casts a shadow in a way we do not quite understand. The man of genius casts light.
George Steiner Permalink
#American Critic #Genius

There is something terribly wrong with a culture inebriated by noise and gregariousness.
George Steiner Permalink
#American Critic #Culture

Those last three minutes were brutal and broke my heart.
George Steiner Permalink
#Heart

More and more lower-middle-income families either live their lives in debt or leave the city altogether. The boom is strictly at the penthouse level.
George Steiner Permalink
#Debt

Chess may be the deepest, least exhaustible of pastimes, but it is nothing more. As for a chess genius, he is a human being who focuses vast, little-understood mental gifts and labors on an ultimately trivial human enterprise.
George Steiner Permalink
#Chess

The immense majority of human biographies are a gray transit between domestic spasm and oblivion.
George Steiner Permalink
#American Critic #Majority

The age of the book is almost gone.
George Steiner Permalink
#American Critic #Age And Aging

The violent illiteracies of the graffiti, the clenched silence of the adolescent, the nonsense cries from the stage-happening, are resolutely strategic. The insurgent and the freak-out have broken off discourse with a cultural system which they despise as a cruel, antiquated fraud. They will not bandy words with it. Accept, even momentarily, the conventions of literate linguistic exchange, and you are caught in the net of the old values, of the grammars that can condescend or enslave.
George Steiner Permalink
#Popular Culture