A Long Saturday
George Steiner is one of the preeminent intellectuals of our time. The Washington Post has declared that no one else “writing on literature can match him as polymath and polyglot, and few can equal the verve and eloquence of his writing,” while the New York Times says of his works that “the erudition is almost as extraordinary as the prose: dense, knowing, allusive.” Reading in many languages, celebrating the survival of high culture in the face of modern barbarisms, Steiner probes the ethics of language and literature with unparalleled grace and authority. A Long Saturday offers intimate insight into the questions that have absorbed him throughout his career.
In a stimulating series of conversations, Steiner and journalist Laure Adler discuss a range of topics, including Steiner’s boyhood in Vienna and Paris, his education at the University of Chicago and Harvard, and his early years in academia. Books are a touchstone throughout, but Steiner and Adler’s conversations also range over music, chess, psychoanalysis, the place of Israel in Jewish life, and beyond. Blending thoughts on subjects of broad interest in the humanities—the issue of honoring Richard Wagner and Martin Heidegger in spite of their politics, or Virginia Woolf’s awareness of the novel as a multivocal form, for example—with personal reflections on life and family, Steiner demonstrates why he is considered one of today’s greatest minds. Revealing and exhilarating, A Long Saturday invites readers to pull up a chair and listen in on a conversation with a master.