Profile photo of George Steiner

The College is saddened to announce the death of Emeritus Fellow Professor George Steiner on 3 February, aged 90.

After obtaining his doctorate from Oxford University, Professor Steiner became a fellow of the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, then was appointed Christian Gauss Lecturer there from 1959 to 1960. From there he came to Cambridge, first as a founding Fellow of Churchill (1961-1969), then as an Extraordinary Fellow. He was made an honorary fellow of Balliol College, Oxford, in 1995. He was also an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Academy of Arts and received a Fellowship from the British Academy and the Truman Capote Lifetime Achievement Award at Stanford University.

Described by novelist A. S. Byatt as a “late, late, late Renaissance man … a European metaphysician with an instinct for the driving ideas of our time”, Professor Steiner was a literary critic, essayist, philosopher, novelist, and educator. In a series of hugely influential books and as senior book reviewer for The New Yorker from 1966 until 1997, he wrote extensively about the relationship between language, literature and society, and in particular the impact of the Holocaust. His papers are held in the Churchill Archives Centre.

Our thoughts are with his wife, Zara, and his family.