George Steiner (1929-2020)

We Mourn The Passing Of Our Dear Friend And Frequent Salmagundi Contributor





NOTE: A Feature devoted to the life and work of George Steiner will appear in the Fall 2020 issue of Salmagundi. It will include an assortment of memoirs and essays.


“Years ago my brilliant, polymathic teacher leaned toward me and whispered with some urgency that I should always carry two passports. That teacher was George Steiner. At home everywhere and nowhere, at once the possessor of European culture and possessed by it, Steiner is 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.” — Stephen Greenblatt


“A late, late, late Renaissance man…a European metaphysician with an instinct for the driving ideas of our time.” — A.S. Byatt


“A colossus of impassioned thought and critical vision.”

Simon Schama


“He told us not to be cowed by insularity or hidebound by small minds, but to look beyond the border.” — John Banville


“An extraordinary example of how to live a life of beautiful trouble.”

Tom Healy


“His mind, truly on its way to Borges, passed through Sophocles and stopped for a moment to take in the view at Heidegger…. ‘Pretentious,’ though a word journalists sometimes used to describe him, was the last thing he ever was. He was never pretending. He was a humanities faculty in himself, an academy of one.”

Adam Gopnik in the February 2020 New Yorker