George Steiner

  • Instaurations: Essays in and out of Literature Pindar to Pound by D.S. Carne-Ross
    California, 275 pp, £10.50, December 1979, ISBN 0 520 03619 0

Critics are legion. Good readers, i.e. those with a complete philological mastery of a major text and the ability to bring this text home to us in its own terms, are rare. Rarer, perhaps, says Borges, than good writers. Because the gifts required are infrequent: technical scruple, historical tact, a just sense for what is both untranslatable, resistant to paraphrase in a classical text, and, at the same time, a vivid enough commitment to the belief that even this ‘untranslatability’, or, indeed, it especially, will, if carefully circumscribed, have a vital presentness to the current reader. Professor Donald Carne-Ross, now of Boston University, is a reader in the best sense.

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