(Francis) George Steiner (who has not used the name Francis since his undergraduate days), was born in Paris, France, on 23 April 1929; the son of Dr Frederick George and Mrs Else Steiner. He was educated first at the Lycée in Paris and then at the French Lycée in New York after the family moved to America in 1940. He gained a BA from the University of Chicago, an MA from Harvard and a DPhil from Oxford (Balliol College, of which he became an Honorary Fellow in 1995). In 1955 he married Zara Shakow, to whom he had been introduced by friends in 1952. They have one son (David) and one daughter (Deborah).
Steiner had been active on undergraduate publications while at University and in 1952 he joined the staff of The Economist, in London, (1952-56). He returned to America in 1956 to attend the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton University, (1956-58) where he also lectured (1959-60). He held a Fulbright professorship in Innsbruck (1958-59), and in 1961 became a Founding Fellow of Churchill College, Cambridge, to which he was elected an Extraordinary Fellow in 1969. In 1974, after several years as a freelance writer and occasional lecturer, he accepted the post of Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of Geneva, which he held until 1994, becoming Professor Emeritus on his retirement. He has since held the positions of Weidenfeld Professor of Comparative Literature and Fellow of St Anne's College, Oxford, (1994-95) and Norton Professor of Poetry at Harvard (2001-02).
Steiner's career has been graced by many honours including a Guggenheim Fellowship, 1971-72 and Honorary Membership of the American Academy of the Arts and Sciences, 1989. He has received an Hon. DLitt from the following Universities: East Anglia, 1976; Louvain, 1980; Mount Holyoke College, USA, 1983; Bristol, 1989; Glasgow, 1990; Liège, 1990; Ulster, 1993; Durham, 1995. In 1984 Steiner, who was French citizen from 1929-1944, was awarded the Chevalier de la Légion d'Honneur. In 1998 he was awarded the Truman Capote Lifetime Achievement Award by Stanford University and was elected a Fellow of the British Academy. He has also won numerous awards for his fiction and poetry.
Tolstoy or Dostoevsky, 1958; The Death of Tragedy, 1960; Anno Domini, 1964; Language and Silence, 1967; Extraterritorial, 1971; In Bluebeard's Castle, 1971; The Sporting Scene: White Knights in Reykjavik, 1973; After Babel, 1975 (adapted for TV as The Tongues of Men, 1977); Heidegger, 1978; On Difficulty and Other Essays, 1978; The Portage to San Cristobal of A. H., 1981; Antigones, 1984; George Steiner: a reader, 1984; Real Presences: is there anything in what we say?, 1989; Proofs and Three Parables, 1992; Errata: An examined life, 1997; Grammars of Creation, 2001.
The material held at Churchill Archives Centre comprises Professor Steiner's personal papers. They include papers of his wife Dr Zara Steiner and his children David and Deborah Steiner. They are predominantly in English with some French. They consist of correspondence with Professor Steiner's parents Dr Frederick Steiner and Mrs Else Steiner, other correspondence, memorabilia and scrapbooks. There is also an extensive collection of press cuttings, and a small number of family photographs.
Acc 1100 - The papers were received by Churchill Archives Centre in 2000 from Professor George Steiner.
The collection was originally mixed with the papers of Dr Frederick George Steiner (now a separate collection). The correspondence in this collection was loosely arranged by date. Other papers were not arranged. Arrangement has therefore been imposed.
Professor Steiner has given his papers to Churchill College.