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In Bluebeard's Castle: Some Notes Towards the Redefinition of Culture (T. S. Eliot Memorial Lectures) Revised ed. Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
This is a thin book, unlike "No Passion Spent"; rigorously and earnestly investigatory, unlike "Errata." Ironically I came to this book last, but it is by far the most satisfying. In the former, only one essay, "Archives of Eden," touches on the large cultural questions examined here, and then more in the form of a rant; in the latter, what had by then become Steiner's familiar terrain seemed only to have been re-rehearsed, with no substantive new insights.
But here is Steiner at his least pretentious (he does have a tendency to flaunt his polylingual capacities), at his most profound and probing. It isn't easy reading and isn't intended to be. It has the earmark of a formidable mind investigating its time and space for its own sake, more out of its own curiosity and impulse to understand as of any desire to impress, or advance its host professionally.
Here is Steiner at the same amplitude as an Elias Canetti or a William Irwin Thompson--an encyclopedic generalist discussing broad cultural questions with command, eloquence and erudition.
There are many levels on which this book can be read. On the historical level, Steiner addresses the period that started with the Enlightenment and its culmination in the French Revolution and then Napoleon's rise and fall. It was a time, Steiner says, when the pace of life, even the perception of the passage of time, was accelerated. To oversimplify, the old order based on both religious certitudes and a monarchical/aristocratic hierarchy was being overthrown by two trends: 1) the installation of democratic institutions that swept away the old structures of privilege and 2) the industrial revolution and its enabling mechanisms, communications and transportation technologies.Read more ›
She opens the door and the three wives are all there, alive and bedecked with jewelry. Bluebeard falls at their feet, praising them, and asks Judith to accept the jewelry that he offers and his love for her as his fourth wife. She does, but she is weighed down by the jewelry. When she joins the first three wives the door closes behind her and the castle is again plunged into darkness. Thus, the book positions us in a frightening, dark locus with doors that might hold hideous secrets . . . in other words in the seventh decade of the 20th century, with the holocaust in our immediate past, the decline of culture an everyday reality, the future uncertain and ominous. Still, like Judith, we want to open the final door. Steiner eases it open and allows us to briefly see beyond.
There are four lectures. Some involve vast cultural speculation.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This short book is four lectures given at the university of Kent at Canterbury in March of 1971. The titles:
1) The Great Ennui
2) A Season in Hell
3) In a... Read more
An extremely interesting essay by one of the -supposedly- greatest minds of the XXth century, trying to analyze the western world's culture and education system through modern... Read morePublished on March 30, 2010 by David Van Elslande