The Idea of Europe: An Essay.pdf
The extraordinary meditation on Europe by the brilliantly illuminating” (Alain de Botton) public intellectual
In this remarkable short book, the foremost intellectual of our age brings a lifetime of erudition to bear on a subject that he has grappled with for decades, and whose future is profoundly uncertain.
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 tensionscultural, social, political, economic, and religioushave 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 in The Idea of Europe.
GEORGE STEINER is an essayist, writer, critic, and cultural philosopher. After fleeing the increasing anti-Semitic violence in Europe, he spent a large part of his youth in the United States. He studied at Harvard and Oxford. His work has appeared in The New Yorker, and he is the author of many books, including In Bluebeard’s Castle, Language and Silence, After Babel, and The Poetry of Thought.