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The Idea of Europe : An Essay
by George Steiner and Rob Riemen


Overview - The Idea of Europe finds George Steiner reckoning with Europe from a number of different angles. "Europe," he writes, "is the place where Goethe's garden almost borders on Buchenwald, where the house of Corneille abuts on the market-place in which Joan of Arc was hideously done to death." It is, in other words, a continent rich with contradiction, whose many tensions--cultural, social, political, economic, and religious--have for centuries conspired to pull it apart, even as it has become more and more unified.  Read more...

 
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More About The Idea of Europe by George Steiner; Rob Riemen
 
 
 
Overview
The Idea of Europe finds George Steiner reckoning with Europe from a number of different angles. "Europe," he writes, "is the place where Goethe's garden almost borders on Buchenwald, where the house of Corneille abuts on the market-place in which Joan of Arc was hideously done to death." It is, in other words, a continent rich with contradiction, whose many tensions--cultural, social, political, economic, and religious--have for centuries conspired to pull it apart, even as it has become more and more unified. But what lies ahead for a continent whose borders are growing and economic might is strengthening, even as its cultural identity recedes? A continent where, in Steiner's words, "young Englishmen choose to rank David Beckham high above Shakespeare and Darwin in their list of national treasures"? This is the trajectory that Steiner explores so brilliantly inThe Idea of Europe.

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9781468310245
  • ISBN-10: 1468310240
  • Publisher: Overlook Press
  • Publish Date: March 2015
  • Page Count: 48
  • Reading Level: Ages 18-UP
  • Dimensions: 7.8 x 5 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.45 pounds


Related Categories

Books > Literary Collections > Essays
Books > Literary Collections > European - General
Books > Political Science > Essays

 
Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2015-01-19
  • Reviewer: Staff

What lies ahead for Europe after Christianity's loss of cultural dominance is one of the great cultural questions of the century. The celebrated literary critic Steiner addressed this mystery in a widely admired 2003 lecture, now reissued with a long foreword, as a slim hardbound book. Steiner first considers the civilized Europe of coffee houses, of ever-present history, and of tamed nature with "no Death Valley, no Amazonia, no ‘outback.'" He then turns to Christianity as a "fading force" in continental life, once saturating the culture but mortally wounded by its "manifold role" in the Holocaust. For Steiner, Hegel's "sense of an ending" culminates in the fate of the Jews and the collapse of Marxism. Reigning systems of belief led to Auschwitz and the Gulag. In turn, these horrors gave rise to contemporary agnosticism and atheism. Steiner recoils from the materialism and vulgarity in which David Beckham is more esteemed than William Shakespeare and Charles Darwin. Steiner dwells throughout his essay on the ongoing tensions between the opposing ideals of "pagan Athens" and "Hebrew Jerusalem," calling the idea of Europe a tale of two cities. He also delights in a cryptic, oracular style. Many readers will find his commentary abstract, florid, or possibly anti-Christian. Yet this classic essay and its unsparing critique deserve attention. (Jan.)

 
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