Real Presences: The Leslie Stephen Memorial Lecture, Delivered Before the University of Cambridge on 1 November 1985

Press Syndicate of the University of Cambridge (1986)
Abstract
Professor Steiner addresses the debate between deconstructionism - the 'anarchic' tendency to suppose that 'there are no rational or falsifiable decision-procedures as between a multitude of differing interpretations' of literature - and the established tradition of liberal criticism, which interprets by consensus, by common sense, and by 'a robust and fertile pragmatism'. He argues that if the acts of reading and of aesthetic judgement are to become responsible again to the vital mystery of literature and the arts they must transcend the merely linguistic and pragmatic, and that the first move in this process is one towards the ethical, towards a 'courtesy of heart, not decorous or civil, but inward and moral'. The second, and radical, move is one towards the theological implications of the concepts of meaning and of understanding; it is these, Professor Steiner maintains, which much of modern aesthetics and epistemology have sought to conceal.
Keywords Language and languages Philosophy
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Call number P106.S774 1986
ISBN(s) 0521339391   9780521339391
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