Test
Download document

STEINER, George


…..
When a language dies, a way of understanding the world dies with it, a way of looking at the world.

….

He is no true reader who has not experienced the reproachful fascination of the great shelves of unread books, of the libraries at night of which Borges is the fabulist. He is no reader who has not heard, in his inward ear, the call of the hundreds of thousands, of the millions of volumes which stand in the stacks of the British Library asking to be read. For there is in each book a gamble against oblivion, a wager against silence, which can be won only when the book is opened again (but in contrast to man, the book can wait centuries for the hazard of resurrection.)

…..

I have every reason to believe that an individual man or woman fluent in several tongues seduces, possesses, remembers differently according to his or her use of the relevant language.

…..

Central to everything I am and believe and have written is my astonishment, naive as it seems to people, that you can use human speech both to bless, to love, to build, to forgive and also to torture, to hate, to destroy and to annihilate

…..

Verse no longer stands at the centre of communicative discourse. It is no longer, as it was from Homer to Milton, the natural repository of knowledge and traditional sentiment. It no longer gives to society its main record of past grandeur or its natural setting for prophecy, as it did in Virgil and Dante. Verse has grown private. It is a special language which the individual poet insinuates, by force of personal genius, into the awareness of his contemporaries, persuading to learn and perhaps hand on his own uses of words. Poetry has become essentially lyric — that is to say, it is the poetry of private vision rather than of public or of national occasion.

…..

That is to say that every single book will be magnetized, will be ordered under complicated mathematical clusters, by related subjects, and semantic markers. You will state your questions, or the subject you are interested in, and the computer will find the books for you. Instataneous retrieval brings with it enormous changes in our relation to the history of a subject, because there is a cut-off point in all these systems beond which the previous books are no longer relevant. They have been adequately subsumed in the later ones. You have a completely different way of organsing knowledge—an immensely efficient and in many ways powerfully logical way, but which blocks the essential motion of the hand reaching along a shelf and stumbling on what it did not know was there. When these great knowledge and data-banks, as they are called, are operative there will come a whole change in the way the human mind and eye live with books.

…..