Synopses & Reviews
George Steiner -- one of the preeminent essayists and literary thinkers of our era -- here addresses issues of language and the relation of language to literature and to religion. He covers a wide range of subjects, from Homer, Shakespeare, Kafka, Kierkegaard, and Simone Weil to Jewish scripture, religious tradition, and the effects of the Holocaust. At a time when the art of reading and the status of text are threatened, Steiner affirms the primacy of reading in the classical sense.
"George Steiner transmits the world of European literature and thought to American audiences better than anyone now writing. No Passion Spent is a valuable and often profound work". -- Alfred Kazin
"Brilliantly illuminating prose". -- Alain de Botton, Independent on Sunday
"In the search of the depths of Homer, the Bible, Shakespeare and Kafka, and the problematic interplay of Judaism, Classicism, Steiner displays his commanding, polymathic erudition.... Stimulating scope and compelling concerns". -- Kirkus Reviews
"All of Steiner's commentary is energized by his fascination with the ancient belief that there are words, texts, or images that speak directly to the nature of existence, in prophecy.... Steiner's view of Western literature makes him ... a unique, powerful and necessary voice". -- Kenneth Baker, San Francisco Chronicle
"Astute, provocative, and eye-opening". -- Michael Dirda, Washington Post Book World
"Bringing to bear deep erudition and graceful, often lyrical prose, Steiner offers sensitive and insightful readings of his subjects while lamenting the fate of reading in general". -- Library Journal
George Steiner is one of the preeminent essayists and literary thinkers of our era. In this remarkable book he concerns himself with language and the relation of language to literature and to religion. Written during a period when the art of reading and the status of a text have been threatened by literary movements that question their validity and by computer technology, Steiner's essays affirm the primacy of reading in the classical sense.Steiner covers a wide range of subjects, from the Hebrew Bible, Homer, and Shakespeare to Kafka, Kierkegaard, Simone Weil, Husserl, and Freud. The theme of Judaism's tragic destiny winds through his thinking, in particular as he muses about whether Jewish scripture and the Talmud are the Jew's true homeland, the parallels between the last supper of Socrates and the Last Supper of Jesus, and the necessity for Christians to hold themselves accountable for their invective and impotence during the Holocaust.