George Steiner: A Celebration
David Herman, Bryan Cheyette, Eva Hoffman
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Stephen Greenblatt described polymath and polyglot George Steiner as, ‘one of the great, restless wanderers of modern criticism… His astonishing intellectual career was a moving, emblematic refusal in the wake of Auschwitz to settle down to cultural business as usual’, while Lisa Jardine called him, ‘a rebel who made us aspire to being Europeans; he helped move British culture from utter provincialism to cosmopolitanism, and taught us to listen to language – how language carries the thread of morality and philosophy.’
George Steiner died last year. In a literary career that spanned half a century, exploring the impact of the Shoah on modern culture and the relationship between language, literature and society, he earned himself detractors as well as many admirers.
Literary critic David Herman leads a discussion on the legacy of one of the great literary critics of his time.
David Herman was a TV producer for twenty years, working with Jeremy Isaacs and Melvyn Bragg among others, and has been a freelance writer for the past fifteen years writing 700 articles for a number of leading magazines and newspapers including The New Statesman, Prospect, The Guardian and The Independent. He is chief fiction reviewer of The Jewish Chronicle.
Bryan Cheyette is Chair in Modern Literature at the University of Reading, and a Fellow of the English Association. He has published ten books most recently Diasporas of the Mind (Yale UP, 2013), which was a 2013 Times Higher Book of the Year, and, as co-editor, a definitive history of the post-war novel (Oxford UP, 2016). He is also a Series Editor for Bloomsbury (New Horizons in Contemporary Writing) and has recently completed a book on the ghetto for Oxford UP. He reviews fiction for several British newspapers, and has published nearly one hundred essays on film, theatre, and fiction for the Times Literary Supplement.
Eva Hoffman grew up in Cracow, Poland and studied music at the Cracow Music Conservatory before emigrating in her teens to Canada and the United States, and eventually settling in Great Britain. After receiving her Ph. D. in literature from Harvard University, she worked as senior editor and cultural critic at The New York Times, and has taught at various British and American universities. Her books, which have been widely translated, include Lost in Translation, Exit Into History, After Such Knowledge and Time, as well as two novels, The Secret and Illuminations (published as Appassionata in the US). She has written and presented numerous programmes for BBC Radio and conceived a series of programmes at the South Bank on Writing and Music. Her awards include the Guggenheim Fellowship, Whiting Award for Writing, an award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and Prix Italia for Radio, for work combining text and music. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, and is currently a Visiting Professor at the European Institute at UCL. She lives in London.