In Bluebeard's Castle

Some Notes Towards the Redefinition of Culture

George Steiner

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September 10, 1974
154 pages, 5 x 8
ISBN: 9780300017106
Paper

“Four impressive lectures about the culture of recent times (from the French Revolution) and the conceivable culture of times to come.  Mr. Steiner’s discussion of the break with the traditional literary past (Jewish, Christian, Greek, and Latin) is illuminating and attractively undogmatic.  He writes as a man sharing ideas, and his original notions, though scarcely cheerful, have the bracing effect that first-rate thinking always has.” –New Yorker
In Bluebeard’s Castle is a brief and brilliant book.  An intellectual tour de force, it is also a book that should generate a profound excitement and promote a profound unease…like the great culturalists of the past.  Steiner uses a dense and plural learning to assess his topic: his book has the outstanding quality of being not simply a reflection on culture, but an embodiment of certain contemporary resources within it.  The result is one of the most important books I have read for a very long time.”—New Society

"Four impressive lectures about the culture of recent times (from the French Revolution) and the conceivable culture of times to come.  Mr. Steiner’s discussion of the break with the traditional literary past (Jewish, Christian, Greek, and Latin) is illuminating and attractively undogmatic.  He writes as a man sharing ideas, and his original notions, though scarcely cheerful, have the bracing effect that first-rate thinking always has."—New Yorker

"George Steiner comes to the conclusion . . . that classical humanism is at an end. But he consoles us with the prospect that the intellectual characteristic of the European tradition is irrepressible. It will go on even if it means finding more truths that kill. The seventh door in Bluebeard's castle offers us, in the bankruptcy of hope, the dignity of daring."—New York Times Book Review

"Few observers of the Post-Modernist cultural revolution can mach George Steiner in breadth of knowledge. . . . In Bluebeard's Castle, which consists of the four T.S. Eliot Memorial Lectures which Steiner gave at the University of Kent in April, 1971, offers the profound if unpleasant thesis that the holocausts of the mid-twentieth century were brought about by a desire for subconscious retribution against the impossible ideals imposed upon Western culture by the monotheism of the Hebraic tradition, the moral rectitude of Christianity, and the messianic socialism of Marxism."—Journal of Modern Literature

"The British critic's own notes toward a redefinition of modern culture in which the massacre of the Jews is symbolic of the revolt of anti-reason."—New York Times Book Review (New and Recommended)

"George Steiner is a latter-day Edmund Wilson, at least as gifted and much more learned. . . . He presents us with a dark prospect for our culture. But his own existence is a proof that the culture has not altogether crumbled or split. His own existence is a cultural phenomenon in which we can take a decent pride."—C.P. Snow

"An all too convincing diagnosis of what is happening to the 'culture' as America leads the world in rejecting wisdom and knowledge for more comfort, which is turning out to be comfortless."—Louis Finkelstein
Errata
An Examined Life

George Steiner

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No Passion Spent
Essays 1978-1995

George Steiner

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Antigones
How the Antigone Legend Has Endured in Western Literature, Art, and Thought

George Steiner

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Tolstoy or Dostoevsky
An Essay in the Old Criticism, Second Edition

George Steiner

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