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Real Presences Real Presences by George Steiner
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“The fantastically wasteful prodigality of human tongues, the Babel enigman, points to a vital multiplication of mortal liberties. Each language speaks the world in its own ways. Each edifies worlds and counter-worlds in its own mode. The polyglot is a freer man.”
George Steiner, Real Presences
“The inception of human consciousness, the genesis of awareness, must have entailed prolonged 'condensations' around intractable nodes of wonder and terror, at the discriminations to be made between the self and the other, between being and non-being (the discovery of the scandal of death).”
George Steiner, Real Presences
“No phonetic sign, except at a rudimentary, strictly speaking pre-linguistic level of vocal imitation, has any substantive relation or contiguity to that which it is conventionally and temporally held to designate.”
George Steiner, Real Presences
“A canon is a guarded catalogue of that speech, music and art which houses inside us, which is irrevocably familiar to our homecomings. And this will include, if honestly arrived at and declared (even if solely to oneself), all manner of ephemera, trivial, and possibly mendacious matter…No manor woman need justify his personal anthology, his canonic welcomes. Love does not argue its necessities.”
George Steiner, Real Presences
“There would be no history as we know it, no religion, no metaphysics or aesthetics as we have lived them, without an initial act of trust, of confiding, more fundamental, more axiomatic by far than any “social contract” or covenant with the postulate of the divine. This instauration of trust, this entrance of man into the city of man, is that between word and world.”
George Steiner, Real Presences
tags: story
“It took ten months for me to learn to tie a lace; I must have howled with rage and frustration. But one day I could tie my laces. I profoundly distrust the pedagogy of ease.”
George Steiner, Real Presences