George Steiner D. J. Enright - Essay

D. J. Enright

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

There is so much that is admirable in George Steiner's attitudes [in Language and Silence], so much in both his desiderations and his abominations to agree with, that his faults are all the more distressing. Or rather his one fault: a histrionic habit, an overheated tone, a melodramatization of what (God knows) is often dramatic enough, a proclivity to fly to extreme positions. The effect is to antagonize the reader on the brink of assent….

The difficulty with Mr. Steiner's reflections on "the retreat from the word"—as with those of some other recent writers on this theme—is that one cannot be sure whether he is lamenting the retreat, accepting it as inevitable, or anticipating an...

(The entire section is 1183 words.)