Reviews and Responses
Lessons of the Masters, George Steiner's published version of the Charles Eliot Norton lectures he gave in 2001-2002, is to be a lesson in the value of conceptualizing, fostering, and admiring highly idiosyncratic individuals engaged in teaching, be it teaching live, present persons or future, absent generations. The theme and style are familiar, as is the abiding sense of nostalgia and impending elegy: "Having taught for half a century, and in numerous countries and systems of higher education," Steiner announces in the first sentence of these melancholic reflections, "I have found myself increasingly uncertain as to the legitimacy, as to the underlying truths of this 'profession'" (1). "In the libertarian climate of our own day" (2), Steiner finds very little appreciation of "Masters," always dignified with the majuscule, and their role in forming "disciples," always rendered with the minuscule, except at the beginning of a sentence. There is some hope, but only of the most reserved, almost petulantly reserved kind:
©2005 Jesse Swan
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"A Review by Jesse G. Swan of Lessons of the Masters, by George Steiner,"
UNIversitas: Journal of Research, Scholarship, and Creative Activity: Vol. 1:
1, Article 9.
Available at: https://scholarworks.uni.edu/universitas/vol1/iss1/9