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George Steiner

George Steiner

2001 Award Winners

Dreams are the neutral ground of contradictions.

Born in Paris in 1929 to a Jewish Viennese family, he lives between the United States, where he went into exile in 1940, and the UK. He studied Literature as well as Mathematics and Physics at Chicago and Harvard, and earned his doctorate in Literature and Philosophy at Oxford. He is one of the world's foremost scholars of European culture, and has lectured at the universities of Stanford, New York and Princeton (where he was professor of Comparative Literature) although he has also pursued his academic career to a great extent in Geneva (Switzerland) and Cambridge (UK).

He has been literary critic for "New Yorker" magazine for 25 years, and has later held the same post at the "New York Times". He served on the editorial staff of "The Economist" from 1952 to 1956. Apart from his concerns - translation as a major cultural problem, silence as a reaction to horror - his work also poses questions as to the responsibility of the literary critic (who he prefers to call a "reading master"). He debuted in 1964 as a narrator with "Anno Domini", although he is more renowned as one of today's best essayists, with such works as "Antigones", "The Death of Tragedy", "After Babel", and "Martin Heidegger", amongst others. His work also includes "No Passion Spent", and his 1977 biography, "Errata: An examined life". "Nostalgia for the Absolute" (1974) was published this year in Spain. His last work "Grammars of creation" was recently published in the UK.

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