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(2011) European identity and the second world war, Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan.

Language out of darkness

George Steiner speaking the unspeakable

Ricardo Gil Soeiro

pp. 235-246

In his essay The Idea of Europe (2004), originally delivered as a lecture at the Nexus Institute in the Netherlands, George Steiner offers five axioms to define Europe: the coffee house; the landscape on a traversable and human scale; the streets and squares named after statesmen, scientists, artists and writers of the past; our twofold descent from Athens and Jerusalem; and, lastly, that apprehension of a closing chapter, of that famous Hegelian sunset, which shadowed the idea and substance of Europe even in its noon hours. This chapter will explore that sense of an "epilogue", which, according to Steiner, was poignantly substantiated by the horror of the concentration camps, and which has proved crucial to a distinctively European self- understanding in the sense that we can no longer believe in the dream of reason that animated the spirit of the Aufklärung.

Publication details

DOI: 10.1057/9780230306943_15

Full citation:

Gil Soeiro, R. (2011)., Language out of darkness: George Steiner speaking the unspeakable, in M. Spiering & M. Wintle (eds.), European identity and the second world war, Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 235-246.

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