House of Anansi Press Imprint Logo

Nostalgia for the Absolute

Written by George Steiner

Series Title: CBC Massey Lectures

  • 64 Pages
  • 9780887848698
  • SOCIAL SCIENCE / Folklore & Mythology
  • SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology of Religion



Publication Date March 01, 1997

Writer and scholar George Steiner's Massey Lectures are just as cogent today as when he delivered them in 1974 -- perhaps even more so. He argues that Western culture's moral and emotional emptiness stems from the decay of formal religion. He examines the alternate mythologies (Marxism, etc.) and fads of irrationality (astrology, the occult). Steiner argues that this decay and the failure of the mythologies have created a nostalgia for the absolute that is growing and leading us to a massive clash between truth and human survival. Ultimately he suggests that we can only reduce the impact of this collision course if we continue, as disinterestedly as possible, to ask questions and seek answers in the face of our increasingly complex world.


George Steiner
George Steiner is an internationally renowned writer and scholar. A Rhodes Scholar, he received his Ph.D. at Oxford University and has been a member of the stuff of The Economist and chief literary critic at The New Yorker. He has taught at Princeton, Cambridge, and the University of Geneva, and is the author of numerous books on language and literature, including The Death of Tragedy, Language and Silence, and Grammars of Creation.