George Steiner, The Poetry of Thought

The Poetry of Thought: From Hellenism to Celan by George Steiner My rating: 4 of 5 stars Why have I become addicted to reading George Steiner? Oblique answers below. This is an essay—and Steiner stresses that it is indeed an “essay,” in the Montaignean sense of “trial”—about the failure of philosophy. Philosophy has longed to … Continue reading George Steiner, The Poetry of Thought

Updates and Goodreads Reviews

1. My review of William Giraldi's new novel, Hold the Dark, appears at Rain Taxi; it addresses Giraldi's controversial criticism and includes a defense of his somewhat unfashionable aestheticism. 2. I am going to cross-post my Goodreads reviews to this blog from now on, in the interests of disseminating my writing to the largest possible audience. … Continue reading Updates and Goodreads Reviews

George Steiner, In Bluebeard’s Castle

In Bluebeard's Castle: Some Notes Towards the Redefinition of Culture by George Steiner My rating: 4 of 5 stars Steiner is a wonderful writer; his prose is rich with allusion, concisely learned, grave in its movements. It does sometimes approach a self-serving melodrama, as James Wood once famously noted; it could stand to be aerated … Continue reading George Steiner, In Bluebeard’s Castle

Links: Me, Elsewhere

1. While I don't even really know who Ira Glass is, I thought the response to his anti-Shakespeare tweet was missing a broader perspective, so I wrote an essay for The Millions attempting to provide one, giving some good reasons why people across the ages, from Tolstoy to Wittgenstein to Joyce to Woolf, have criticized … Continue reading Links: Me, Elsewhere

George Steiner, Tolstoy or Dostoevsky: An Essay in the Old Criticism

Tolstoy or Dostoevsky: An Essay in the Old Criticism by George Steiner My rating: 5 of 5 stars This is a superb book. It abounds in literary-historical insight; it goes to the heart of these authors' achievements. The title is a bit misleading in that it's not really about deciding whether Tolstoy or Dostoevsky is … Continue reading George Steiner, Tolstoy or Dostoevsky: An Essay in the Old Criticism