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My Unwritten Books

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  128 ratings  ·  21 reviews
By one of the world's foremost literary critics, George Steiner's "My Unwritten Books" meditates upon seven books he had long had in mind to write, but never did. Massively erudite, the essays are also brave, unflinching, and wholly personal.
In this fiercely original and audacious work, George Steiner tells of seven books which he did not write. Because intimacies and ind
Hardcover, 209 pages
Published January 17th 2008 by New Directions (first published 2007)
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May 02, 2009 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Phalangists
Recommended to Lobstergirl by: John Cawte Beaglehole, PhD
Shelves: books-on-books
I'd never heard of George Steiner before, but apparently he's dazzling, superb (a phenomenon), unique, powerful, brilliantly illuminating, the polymath's polymath, one of the world's foremost intellectuals. Here he writes 7 essays on books he might have written, but didn't. (We must be thankful he didn't write the book "The Tongues of Eros," about language and sex, which goes into numbing, repulsive, and sickeningly poetic detail about his sexual practices with various women who are named by nat ...more
Apr 22, 2008 added it
Each of the seven chapters covers a book Steiner had hoped to write but did not. I loved the premise and liked getting introduced to topics I frankly wouldn’t want a whole book about--it’s a pleasure to follow his thoughts on, say, Needham’s Chinese encyclopedia for ten or so pages, but then I'm fine to move on. The only one I wished were a full-length work was the chapter on forgotten poet Cecco d'Ascoli and the nature of envy. Just as I was thinking Steiner's entire life took place in the mind ...more
Gaston Levin
May 29, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
En un gesto encantador Steiner escribe siete textos largos sobre temas a los que le hubiera gustado dedicar un libro entero. Así pasan la pasión por China y la vida de Joseph Needham, la vida oculta y literaria de Cecco d’Ascoli, la sexualidad y la lengua, el judaísmo y su persistencia existencial, una comparación entre los criterios educativos del primer mundo, la relación del hombre con los animales y un breve ensayo sobre las ideas políticas.
Todos escritos con la ligereza y la erudición de q
May 17, 2008 rated it liked it
Steiner's range of reference is the whole of Western (and a fair amount of Eastern) science, literature, history, art, music, and philosophy. This often made me feel like I'd been given an aerial view of topics I've only had access to from ant's-eye level. Occasionally, his style makes his arguments seem fatuous, and I felt like I was in the presence of an inescapable gasbag.
Mar 30, 2008 rated it really liked it
I have been reading George for forty years and savour his prose. This book is an enjoyable read but doesnt really say anything new except that he misses God not being around any more. He is a bit silly about his sex life which will upset his wife.
Apr 19, 2008 rated it it was ok
This is a good example of how a great idea for a book doesn't necessarily translate into a great book. The essays on envy and multi-lingual loving are the highlights. The others are a bit of a slog.
Versión kindle. Voy a ser sincera, no esperaba lo que encontré. Sin saber siquiera quién es George Steiner, escogí el libro por el título. que, me imaginaba, se refería a novelas. No me molesté en leer la reseña, defecto cada vez más pronunciado de mi personalidad.

Total que no ha sido una decepción. Cada "libro no escrito" trata de cavilaciones, a mi modo de ver, compartidas por todos. Mis favoritos han sido "Los idiomas de Eros" (por mi formación en letras) "Cuestiones educativas" (creo que ca
Georgi Tenev
Jun 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Часове, прекарани със затаен дъх. Шокиращо богата, разнопосочна книга, пълна с универсално знание и хуманзъм. Научно и лично, обобщаващо и характерно. Това писане, мисленето на Стайнър, есетата в книгата, са наистина необичайна пресечна точка между огромна ерудиция, любов към истината, търсачество, безспорен талант и аристократизъм + гений. На шега като че е наречена "Моите ненаписани книги", защото дори само ескизите върху бъдещите заглавия на Стайнър вече сами по себе си представляват изключит ...more
Scott Whittaker
Mar 20, 2018 rated it liked it
The first three chapters are incredible, but after that the quality drops dramatically
Richard Wu
Sep 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
George Steiner, the “polymath’s polymath” of “total cultural mastery, from the pre-Socratics to the postmodern.” What does such an individual dream about? One must be curious.

Envy, sex, linguistics, Jewish identity, the historiography of Chinese scientism, intersectional international educational standards, animal love, political participation, the existence of God…

Central to Steiner, and perhaps to the authorial ethos writ large, is the idea that there remains something
Jan 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
In Alberto Manguel's wonderful compendium of libraries, The Library at Night, he writes:
"We can imagine the books we'd like to read, even if they have not yet been written, and we can imagine libraries full of books we would like to possess, even if the are well beyond our reach, because we enjoy dreaming up a library that reflects every one of our interests and every one of our foibles--a library that, in its variety and complexity, fully reflects the reader we are."

This idea, and I
Apr 06, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I called Raymond Tallis an über-intellectual in my other review. I should have waited to read George Steiner. I’d never heard of him, but apparently he’s “one of the world’s foremost intellectuals” – and an avowed elitist. He’s written quite a few books – respeck if you’ve read any of them – but this book is a collection of seven essays, each about a books that he didn’t write for some personal reason.

Wading through Steiner’s difficult prose and impossibly highbrow commentaries and references,
David Fernandes
Dec 03, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009-reads
Uma maravilha.

O simples facto de uma mente brilhante, de alguma maneira, assumir a sua inabilidade para tratar convenientemente determinados assuntos é, no mínimo, desafiante para quem lê.

Percebe-se a imensidão que é a "cabeça" deste homem. Sendo um livro constituído por 7 "pequenos" ensaios sobre outros tantos temas, o desfile de interrogações é maciço e sufocante.

Os temas são tão diversos quanto surpreendentes: a experiência do sexo em línguas diferentes, as
Mar 08, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction11
I can't remember where I heard about this, but I grabbed it when I saw it in Poundland! And what a pound well spent.

A challenging read. Wordy and at times threatening to lose me, but well worth persevering with. Steiner writes with faith and passion and even when dealing with things I didn't know I cared about he pulled me in. My favourite chapters were those about animal, education and love in other languages. I think more people could benefit from condensing their ideas in this way
Apryl Anderson
I've never met Professor Steiner, although I'd recognize him in a moment. Perhaps a different name, but the ivory tower follows one across the seas and throughout the land. I love to learn, and I'm thrilled by intellectual stimulation. Similar to a sexual experience, it's generally improved by two souls who genuinely love each other. When one of those players exudes an impression that his participation makes yours transcendent, the union is rather hollow. Which is what this book did for me. I tr ...more
Victor de Boer
Sep 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
Zeven boeken die Steiner wel wilde schrijven maar welke om verschillende redenen nooit geschreven zijn. In plaats daarvan vormt hij elk idee om naar een 30-pagina's lang hoofdstuk in dit boek. Aan het einde van elk hoofdstuk vertelt George waarom hij het boek nooit schreef: schaamte, te ingewikkeld, etc. Aan de ene kant zitten er een paar echte pareltjes tussen de 7 'boeken', maar tegelijkertijd zijn er ook een of twee hoofdstukken wat vermoeiender en begrijp je waarom hij die niet uitgebreider ...more
Philippe Malzieu
Mar 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
The book that Steiner did not write, there is like a regret. I imagine what that could they have been. On the 7 chapters, the result would have been different. Could one make a book on a conference of Bertrand Russel? I'm not sure. My preferate chapter is on chinese science. And there is certain a giddiness. Whereas their knowledge in physics were very advanced, all research was stopped. What would began China if it had keep on working on this subject.
Sep 02, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Steiner has read everything, and writes densely. But it is a good exercise to make your way through the prose. Lots of reading ideas. This is a collection of seven long chapters about topics on which he considered writing a book. Interesting, unabashedly elitist.
Oct 24, 2008 marked it as to-read
... ainda não comecei mas estou super curiosa; o fim de semana está à porta, pode ser que consiga ler qq coisinha :)
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See also: George A. Steiner, author on Management and Planning.

Dr. Francis George Steiner is an essayist, novelist, philosopher, literary critic, and educator. He has written for The New Yorker for over thirty years, contributing over two hundred reviews. Among his many awards, he received The Truman Capote Lifetime Achievement Award from Stanford University 1998. He lives in Cambridge, England, with his wife/>Dr.