Skip to Main Content

Rhodes Trust 120th Anniversary Reunion

Rhodes120 Logo Horizontal White RGB Blue

GEORGE STEINER

(Illinois & Balliol 1950) (23 April 1929 - 3 February 2020)

GEORGE STEINER

George Steiner, a literary polymath and man of letters whose voluminous criticism often dealt with the paradox of literature’s moral power and its impotence in the face of an event like the Holocaust, died at his home in Cambridge, England. He was 90.

After receiving his master’s degree from Harvard in 1950, he won a Rhodes Scholarship to Balliol College, Oxford. He received his doctorate in English literature in 1955.

That same year he married Zara Alice Shakow, who became a historian of international relations. In addition to his son, his wife survives him along with a daughter, Deborah Tarn, who is a philologist, and two grandchildren.

In 1952, Mr. Steiner joined the editorial staff of The Economist, where he remained until 1956. After obtaining his doctorate, he became a fellow of the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, then was appointed Christian Gauss Lecturer at Princeton from 1959 to 1960. From Princeton he went to Cambridge University, where he remained for the rest of his life, first as a fellow of Churchill College (1961-1969), then as an Extraordinary Fellow. He was an honorary fellow of Balliol College, Oxford.

At various times he also taught or lectured at the University of Geneva, New York University and Harvard, where he was appointed the Charles Eliot Norton professor of poetry for 2001-2002.

Read more