Philosophers / Thinkers

34 of the Best George Steiner Quotes (LANGUAGE)

Top 10 Most Famous George Steiner Quotes (BEST)

“He is no true reader who has not experienced the reproachful fascination of the great shelves of unread books, of the libraries at night of which Borges is the fabulist. He is no reader who has not heard, in his inward ear, the call of the hundreds of thousands, of the millions of volumes which stand in the stacks of the British Library asking to be read. For there is in each book a gamble against oblivion, a wager against silence, which can be won only when the book is opened again (but in contrast to man, the book can wait centuries for the hazard of resurrection.)”

George Steiner
When a language dies, a way of understanding the world dies with it, a way of looking at the world.
When a language dies, a way of understanding the world dies with it, a way of looking at the world.
Every language is a world. Without translation, we would inhabit parishes bordering on silence.
Every language is a world. Without translation, we would inhabit parishes bordering on silence.
Books - the best antidote against the marsh - gas of boredom and vacuity.
Books – the best antidote against the marsh – gas of boredom and vacuity.
Language can only deal meaningfully with a special, restricted segment of reality. The rest, and it is presumably the much larger part, is silence.
Language can only deal meaningfully with a special, restricted segment of reality. The rest, and it is presumably the much larger part, is silence.

“The calling of the teacher. There is no craft more privileged. To awaken in another human being powers, dreams beyond one’s own; to induce in others a love for that which one loves; to make of one’s inward present their future; that is a threefold adventure like no other.”

George Steiner
The ordinary man casts a shadow in a way we do not quite understand. The man of genius casts light.
The ordinary man casts a shadow in a way we do not quite understand. The man of genius casts light.
Men and women sleep not with each other but with the memories, the regrets, the hopes of unions yet to come. Our adulteries are internal; they deepen our aloneness.
Men and women sleep not with each other but with the memories, the regrets, the hopes of unions yet to come. Our adulteries are internal; they deepen our aloneness.
Tragedy speaks not of secular dilemmas which may be resolved by rational innovation, but of the unalterable bias toward inhumanity and destruction in the drift of the world.
Tragedy speaks not of secular dilemmas which may be resolved by rational innovation, but of the unalterable bias toward inhumanity and destruction in the drift of the world.
It is not the literal past that rules us it is images of the past.
It is not the literal past that rules us: it is images of the past.

5 George Steiner Quotes About Art and Poetry

“I believe that a work of art, like metaphors in language, can ask the most serious, difficult questions in a way which really makes the readers answer for themselves; that the work of art far more than an essay or a tract involves the reader, challenges him directly and brings him into the argument.”

George Steiner
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.
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.

“All serious art, music, literature is a critical act. It is so, firstly, in the sense of Matthew Arnold’s phrase: ‘a criticism of life.’ Be it realistic, fantastic, Utopian or satiric, the construct of the artist is a counter-statement to the world.”

George Steiner
I owe everything to a system that made me learn by heart till I wept. As a result I have thousands of lines of poetry by heart. I owe everything to this.
I owe everything to a system that made me learn by heart till I wept. As a result I have thousands of lines of poetry by heart. I owe everything to this.

“We speak in (rich) monotones. Our poetry is haunted by the music it has left behind. Orpheus shrinks to a poet when he looks back, with the impatience of reason, on a music stronger than death.”

George Steiner

6 George Steiner Quotes on Books and Literature

“Women began their inner emancipation by their access to literature, by access to the world through books; an access they could not have socially or politically, or of course economically, in the world at large.”

George Steiner
The age of the book is almost gone.
The age of the book is almost gone.

“Books are in no hurry. An act of creation is in no hurry; it reads us, it privileges us infinitely. The notion that it is the occasion for our cleverness fills me with baffled bitterness and anger.”

George Steiner
To understand is to decipher. To hear significance is to translate.
To understand is to decipher. To hear significance is to translate.

“The fantastically wasteful prodigality of human tongues, the Babel enigman, points to a vital multiplication of mortal liberties. Each language speaks the world in its own ways. Each edifies worlds and counter-worlds in its own mode. The polyglot is a freer man.”

George Steiner
Words that are saturated with lies or atrocity, do not easily resume life.
Words that are saturated with lies or atrocity, do not easily resume life.

2 George Steiner Quotes on Language

If, in the Judaic perception, the language of the Adamic was that of love, the grammars of fallen man are those of the legal code.
If, in the Judaic perception, the language of the Adamic was that of love, the grammars of fallen man are those of the legal code.
Language is the main instrument of man's refusal to accept the world as it is.
Language is the main instrument of man’s refusal to accept the world as it is.

4 George Steiner Quotes on Teaching

My father loved poetry and music. But deep in himself he thought teaching the finest thing a person could do.
My father loved poetry and music. But deep in himself he thought teaching the finest thing a person could do.
If there is a chronic infirmity by which every teacher ought to be afflicted, it is, indeed, hope.
If there is a chronic infirmity by which every teacher ought to be afflicted, it is, indeed, hope.
My writing of fiction comes under a very general heading of those teachers, critics, scholars who like to try their own hand once or twice in their lives.
My writing of fiction comes under a very general heading of those teachers, critics, scholars who like to try their own hand once or twice in their lives.
I learned early on that 'rabbi' means teacher, not priest.
I learned early on that ‘rabbi’ means teacher, not priest.

7 Deep George Steiner Quotes that Will Make You Think

“Central to everything I am and believe and have written is my astonishment, naive as it seems to people, that you can use human speech both to bless, to love, to build, to forgive and also to torture, to hate, to destroy and to annihilate.”

George Steiner
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.
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.

“Nothing is more symptomatic of the enervation, of the decompression of the Western imagination, than our incapacity to respond to the landings on the Moon. Not a single great poem, picture, metaphor has come of this breathtaking act, of Prometheus’ rescue of Icarus or of Phaeton in flight towards the stars.”

George Steiner
Men are accomplices to that which leaves them indifferent.
Men are accomplices to that which leaves them indifferent.
The Jew has his anchorage not in place but in time, in his highly developed sense of history as personal context. Six thousand years of self-awareness are a homeland.
The Jew has his anchorage not in place but in time, in his highly developed sense of history as personal context. Six thousand years of self-awareness are a homeland.

“It took 10 months for me to learn to tie a lace; I must have howled with rage and frustration. But one day I could tie my laces. That no one can take from you. I profoundly distrust the pedagogy of ease.”

George Steiner
There is something terribly wrong with a culture inebriated by noise and gregariousness.
There is something terribly wrong with a culture inebriated by noise and gregariousness.

(MUST READ) After Babel: Aspects of Language and Translation

After Babel: Aspects of Language and Translation
After Babel: Aspects of Language and Translation

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