George Steiner embodies, better than any preamble to a constitution, the founding values of Europe. Even more so when he states that dissent is the founding act of creation, or that one must detach himself from what one is, to work on what one might be, when, even in language, he measures the eclipse of messianism and the infiltration of barbarism, or when he underlines the need for society to redefine its culture in order to safeguard its memory and the desire to transmit it. Steiner questions and reassures simultaneously: he challenges with questions both private and shared; he reassures with an immense knowledge that allows us to think more freely.

This article forms part of issue 22 of the IDEES magazine, “Immigration and social cohesion”, published in print format between April and June 2004. The PDF article is available to download in Catalan below.


George Steiner

George Steiner (1929-2020) va ser un dels principals referents intel·lectuals del segle XX, escriptor, crític i teòric de la literatura i la cultura, professor emèrit del Churchill College de la Universitat de Cambridge i del St Anne's College de la Universitat d’Oxford. Les seves reflexions giraven entorn de la història de la cultura, on emmarcava les seves preocupacions: la crisi de l’humanisme enfront de l’ascens científic i tecnològic, l’Holocaust i les seves conseqüències, la relació entre llenguatge i pensament i la irreductibilitat de les llengües i el seu futur. Entre els seus assaigs cal esmentar The Death of Tragedy (1965), Language and Silence (1967), In Bluebeard’s Castle (1971), After Babel (1975), On Difficulty and Other Essays (1978), Real Presences: Is there Anything We Say? (1986), el volum autobiogràfic Errata (1998), Grammars of Creation (2001), Lessons of the Masters (2003), Nostalgia for the Absolute (2004) i My Unwritten Books (2008). El 2001 va rebre el Premi Príncep d’Astúries de comunicació i humanitats.