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Keynote Lecture - Professor George Steiner

Date:11 July 2011, 11:00am
Location:Clattern Lecture Theatre, Penrhyn Road campus

As part of the conference Life Writing and Human Rights: Genres of Testimony hosted by Kingston University's Centre for Life Narratives and The Helen Bamber Centre and the University of Minnesota, we are pleased to offer tickets to the keynote lecture by Professor George Steiner (Churchill College, Cambridge) entitled Present Dangers.


Free tickets can be booked here.

Professor George Steiner

The talk

Professor Steiner’s talk refers to Justice Holmes’s rubric: Clear and present danger concerning the ability of the government to regulate speech against the draft during World War I:

"The question in every case is whether the words used are used in such circumstances and are of such a nature as to create a clear and present danger that they will bring about the substantive evils that the United States Congress has a right to prevent. It is a question of proximity and degree.

"When a nation is at war, many things that might be said in time of peace are such a hindrance to its effort that their utterance will not be endured so long as men fight, and that no Court could regard them as protected by any constitutional right."

About Professor Steiner

Professor George Steiner, FBA is one of the leading thinkers of our time: a highly influential essayist, philosopher, novelist, translator, and educator. He has written extensively about the relationship between language, literature and society, and the impact of the Holocaust.

Among his admirers, Steiner is ranked "among the great minds in today's literary world." English novelist A. S. Byatt described him as a "late, late, late Renaissance man ... a European metaphysician with an instinct for the driving ideas of our time." Harriet Harvey-Wood, a former literature director of the British Council, saw him as a "magnificent lecturer – prophetic and doom-laden [who would] turn up with half a page of scribbled notes, and never refer to them."

Awards and honours

George Steiner has received many honors, including:

  • A Rhodes Scholarship (1950)
  • A Guggenheim Fellowship (1971–72)
  • Chevalier de la Légion d'Honneur by the French Government (1984)
  • The Morton Dauwen Zaubel Prize from The American Academy of Arts and Letters (1989)
  • The King Albert Medal by the Belgian Academy Council of Applied Sciences
  • An honorary fellow of Balliol College at the University of Oxford (1995)
  • The Truman Capote Lifetime Achievement Award by Stanford University (1998)[13]
  • The Prince of Asturias Award for Communication and Humanities (2001)[15]
  • Fellowship of the British Academy Honorary Doctorate of Literature degrees from University of East Anglia (1976), University of Leuven (1980), Mount Holyoke College (1983), Bristol University (1989), University of Glasgow (1990) , University of Liège (1990), University of Ulster (1993), Durham University (1995), Queen Mary, University of London (2006), Alma Mater Studiorum - Università di Bologna (2006), Honoris Causa - Faculty of Letters - University of Lisbon (2009)

He has also won numerous awards for his fiction and poetry, including:

  • Remembrance Award (1974) for Language and Silence: Essays 1958-1966
  • PEN/Macmillan Silver Pen Award (1992) for Proofs and Three Parables.[2]
  • PEN/Macmillan Fiction Prize (1993) for Proofs and Three Parables.[2]
  • JQ Wingate Prize for Non-Fiction (joint winner with Louise Kehoe and Silvia Rodgers) (1997) for No Passion Spent.

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