George Steiner – Paris Review


Peasants by Diego Rivera OSA120

Peasants – Diego Rivera

It is a very peculiar climate, summed up by that man of undoubted genius, Monsieur Derrida, when he says that every text is a “pretext.” This is one of the most formidably erroneous, destructive, brilliantly trivial wordplays ever launched. Meaning what? That whatever the stature of the poem, it waits for the deconstructive commentator; it is the mere occasion of the exercise. That is to me ridiculous beyond words. Walter Benjamin said a book can wait a thousand years unread until the right reader happens to come along. Books are in no hurry. An act of creation is in no hurry; it reads us, it privileges us infinitely. The notion that students today read second- and thirdhand criticism of criticism, and read less and less real literature, is absolutely the death of the normal naive and logical order of precedence.”

 

George Steiner

http://www.theparisreview.org/interviews/1506/the-art-of-criticism-no-2-george-steiner

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