Welcome to Bookmarker!

This is a personal project by @dellsystem. I built this to help me retain information from the books I'm reading. Currently can only be used by a single user (myself), but I plan to extend it to support multiple users eventually.

Source code on GitHub (MIT license).

At the New Yorker
by George Steiner
May 5, 2017 - May 7, 2017

Done

Steiner, G. (2009). At the New Yorker. New Directions.


New Directions, 2009. 304 pages.

107 20
29

p.324
enervating »
(verb) to reduce the mental or moral vigor of /...
p.323
baize »
(noun) a coarse woolen or cotton fabric napped ...
p.323
orotund »
(adjective) marked by fullness, strength, and c...
p.317
exigent »
(adjective) requiring immediate aid or action /...
p.307
quire »
(noun) a collection of 24 or sometimes 25 sheet...
p.249
Bertrand Russell's correspondence
[...] Russell has debated philosophy with Wittg...
p.206
Ezra Pound's cracker-barrel Fascism
[...] By comparison, Ezra Pound's cracker-barre...
p.298
on chess
To a true chess player, the pushing about of th...
p.279
Chomsky on childhood language
[...] Chomsky saw--and this, I believe, has bee...
p.254
Russell's Jacobinism
[...] But Russell's Jacobinism is high Tory; it...

1

Introduction by Robert Boyers

Steiner wrote 130+ pieces for The New Yorker between 1967-1997; was often called a successor to Edmund Wilson; wrote on a wide variety of subjects; often called "elitist"

5 / 1
1

Introduction by Robert Boyers

Steiner wrote 130+ pieces for The New Yorker between 1967-1997; was often called a successor to Edmund Wilson; wrote on a wide variety of subjects; often called "elitist"

5 / 1
13

The Cleric of Treason
on Anthony Blunt

divided into two sections: 1) Anthony Blunt the art critic (he was very diligent, though I zoned out through some of the descriptions of his contributions) who was knighted for his work; and 2) Anthony Blunt the Soviet spy who worked for MI5 after the war.

the two main reasons Steiner gives for his sympathy to the Soviet cause: a) the fact that art under communism is a lot more free than it is under capitalism; and b) homosexuality? i don't really follow this one

18 / 2
13

The Cleric of Treason
on Anthony Blunt

divided into two sections: 1) Anthony Blunt the art critic (he was very diligent, though I zoned out through some of the descriptions of his contributions) who was knighted for his work; and 2) Anthony Blunt the Soviet spy who worked for MI5 after the war.

the two main reasons Steiner gives for his sympathy to the Soviet cause: a) the fact that art under communism is a lot more free than it is under capitalism; and b) homosexuality? i don't really follow this one

18 / 2
47

Wien, Wien, Nur de Allein
on Webern & Vienna

Vienna's (and maybe the rest of the Austro-Hungarian empire) famous thinkers and creators: Freud, Wittgenstein, Musil, Broch, Brucker, Mahler, Bartok, Schoenberg, Alban Berg, Anton Webern, Adolf Loos, Karl Kraus, Ernst Mach, Karl Popper, Schumpeter, Hayek, von Neumann

this essay is about composer Anton Webern, who happened to be pro-Hitler and died near the end of WWII (accidentally? shot by Allied forces)

2 / 0
47

Wien, Wien, Nur de Allein
on Webern & Vienna

Vienna's (and maybe the rest of the Austro-Hungarian empire) famous thinkers and creators: Freud, Wittgenstein, Musil, Broch, Brucker, Mahler, Bartok, Schoenberg, Alban Berg, Anton Webern, Adolf Loos, Karl Kraus, Ernst Mach, Karl Popper, Schumpeter, Hayek, von Neumann

this essay is about composer Anton Webern, who happened to be pro-Hitler and died near the end of WWII (accidentally? shot by Allied forces)

2 / 0
54

De Profundis
on Solzhenitsyn's Gulag

on Alexander Solzhenitsyn, a Russian writer who wrote about life in the Gulag

2 / 0
54

De Profundis
on Solzhenitsyn's Gulag

on Alexander Solzhenitsyn, a Russian writer who wrote about life in the Gulag

2 / 0
61

God's Spies
on Graham Greene

a review of Graham Greene's The Human Factor, which was inspired by the case of Kim Philby, a British secret agent who turned out to be a Soviet spy

1 / 1
61

God's Spies
on Graham Greene

a review of Graham Greene's The Human Factor, which was inspired by the case of Kim Philby, a British secret agent who turned out to be a Soviet spy

1 / 1
69

From The House of the Dead
on Albert Speer

Hitler's architect and minister of armaments and war production, Speer survived the war and (after the Nuremberg trials, during which he acknowledged the use of slave labourers) was imprisoned in Berlin for twenty years. some thought his imprisonment was partly an attempt by the Soviet Union to keep him out of the Western hands. during his captivity, he wrote basically an autobiography on scraps of paper. this essay portrays him in a sad light: he seems almost childlike in the way he writes, reads, sketches. the essay ends by noting that his prison sentence was a walk in the park compared to what befell those slave labourers.

3 / 0
69

From The House of the Dead
on Albert Speer

Hitler's architect and minister of armaments and war production, Speer survived the war and (after the Nuremberg trials, during which he acknowledged the use of slave labourers) was imprisoned in Berlin for twenty years. some thought his imprisonment was partly an attempt by the Soviet Union to keep him out of the Western hands. during his captivity, he wrote basically an autobiography on scraps of paper. this essay portrays him in a sad light: he seems almost childlike in the way he writes, reads, sketches. the essay ends by noting that his prison sentence was a walk in the park compared to what befell those slave labourers.

3 / 0
78

De Mortuis
on Aries & New French History

about Philippe Ariès, director of information of the Institute of Applied Research for Tropical and Subtropical Fruits, who also happens to be a historian who has written influential books about French history, home life, and death (among other topics). didn't really care too much for this one tbh

3 / 0
78

De Mortuis
on Aries & New French History

about Philippe Ariès, director of information of the Institute of Applied Research for Tropical and Subtropical Fruits, who also happens to be a historian who has written influential books about French history, home life, and death (among other topics). didn't really care too much for this one tbh

3 / 0
86

One Thousand Years of Solitude
on Salvatore Satta

a review of Satta's Il Giorno (a novel about a household in Italy). he was an Italian writer with a law background and the book was published posthumously. probably has an air of magical realism (hence the title). didn't really care for this essay

9 / 1
86

One Thousand Years of Solitude
on Salvatore Satta

a review of Satta's Il Giorno (a novel about a household in Italy). he was an Italian writer with a law background and the book was published posthumously. probably has an air of magical realism (hence the title). didn't really care for this essay

9 / 1
95

Killing Time
on George Orwell's 1984

this was a pretty good one. apparently the title "1984" was chosen because, a few months before publication, it was 1948, and Orwell decided to reverse the last two digits. the original title was The Last Man in Europe, and acc to Steiner that would have been a more apt title, to characterise the book's message of resistance to totalitarianism in all forms (both the Soviet Union's Stalinism and the United States' technocracy/mass-media hypnosis). the book was also inspired by the Russian novel We by Y. I. Zamyatin, whose author had been incarcerated by the Soviet regime.

2 / 1
95

Killing Time
on George Orwell's 1984

this was a pretty good one. apparently the title "1984" was chosen because, a few months before publication, it was 1948, and Orwell decided to reverse the last two digits. the original title was The Last Man in Europe, and acc to Steiner that would have been a more apt title, to characterise the book's message of resistance to totalitarianism in all forms (both the Soviet Union's Stalinism and the United States' technocracy/mass-media hypnosis). the book was also inspired by the Russian novel We by Y. I. Zamyatin, whose author had been incarcerated by the Soviet regime.

2 / 1
117

Black Danube
on Karl Kraus & Thomas Bernhard

about the locality of satire, and two Viennese satirists: Karl Kraus, who is hard to read out of context (I think?) and Thomas Bernhard who wrote (among others) a novel on Wittgenstein that is one of the "towering achievements of postwar literature". the essay ends by noting that Bernhard had a special hatred for Austria (expressed in his work) and noting the limits of that hatred? this one didn't really resonate with me

6 / 1
117

Black Danube
on Karl Kraus & Thomas Bernhard

about the locality of satire, and two Viennese satirists: Karl Kraus, who is hard to read out of context (I think?) and Thomas Bernhard who wrote (among others) a novel on Wittgenstein that is one of the "towering achievements of postwar literature". the essay ends by noting that Bernhard had a special hatred for Austria (expressed in his work) and noting the limits of that hatred? this one didn't really resonate with me

6 / 1
128

B.B.
on Bertolt Brecht

starts with a depiction of the fall of the Berlin Wall, and contemplates the gains and losses that resulted. Brecht was a Jew and Marxist who fled Germany in 1933 and lived abroad (mostly in California) until after the war was over (fled to Paris in 1947 after being caught up in McCarthyism). His political views were complicated--he distanced himself from both the Soviet system and the capitalist democracies of the West. apparently his plays were great. i should read them.

2 / 3
128

B.B.
on Bertolt Brecht

starts with a depiction of the fall of the Berlin Wall, and contemplates the gains and losses that resulted. Brecht was a Jew and Marxist who fled Germany in 1933 and lived abroad (mostly in California) until after the war was over (fled to Paris in 1947 after being caught up in McCarthyism). His political views were complicated--he distanced himself from both the Soviet system and the capitalist democracies of the West. apparently his plays were great. i should read them.

2 / 3
142

Uneasy Rider
on Robert M. Pirsig

About Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. pretty short. not super memorable.

2 / 0
142

Uneasy Rider
on Robert M. Pirsig

About Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. pretty short. not super memorable.

2 / 0
148

Rare Bird
on Guy Davenport

an overview of this Professor of English at the University of Kentucky, who published translations, short stories, and literary essays. not super impressed with this one

1 / 1
148

Rare Bird
on Guy Davenport

an overview of this Professor of English at the University of Kentucky, who published translations, short stories, and literary essays. not super impressed with this one

1 / 1
157

Dead Letters
on John Barth

On Barth's novel Letters and its intolerable narcisissm

4 / 0
157

Dead Letters
on John Barth

On Barth's novel Letters and its intolerable narcisissm

4 / 0
162

Tigers in the Mirror
on Jorge Luis Borges

a praise of Borges, an Argentine writer who was comfortable in English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Anglo-Saxon, Old Norse, and of course Spanish (how???). the essay itself wasn't super memorable but i should probably read Borges' stuff

5 / 0
162

Tigers in the Mirror
on Jorge Luis Borges

a praise of Borges, an Argentine writer who was comfortable in English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Anglo-Saxon, Old Norse, and of course Spanish (how???). the essay itself wasn't super memorable but i should probably read Borges' stuff

5 / 0
176

Of Nuance and Scruple
on Samuel Beckett

a highly complimentary piece on Beckett, who apparently wrote more than just plays. he also translated some of his work himself, as he spoke both English and French. Steiner suggests he is the opposite of Henry James (because he refused to "see in language and literary form adequate realizations of human feelings or society"?)

1 / 0
176

Of Nuance and Scruple
on Samuel Beckett

a highly complimentary piece on Beckett, who apparently wrote more than just plays. he also translated some of his work himself, as he spoke both English and French. Steiner suggests he is the opposite of Henry James (because he refused to "see in language and literary form adequate realizations of human feelings or society"?)

1 / 0
186

Under Eastern Eyes
on Alexander Solzhenitsyn & Other Russians

about the political and despairing nature of Russian literature. other authors: Andrei Sinyavsky, Lydia Chukovskaya.

5 / 1
186

Under Eastern Eyes
on Alexander Solzhenitsyn & Other Russians

about the political and despairing nature of Russian literature. other authors: Andrei Sinyavsky, Lydia Chukovskaya.

5 / 1
199

Cat Man
on Louis-Ferdinand Celine

the title refers to some silly anecdote about a cat owned by (or invented by? idk) French writer Frédéric Vitoux, who wrote a biography on Céline (another French writer). apparently he was very anti-Semitic. i didn't like the structure of this essay at all,

4 / 2
199

Cat Man
on Louis-Ferdinand Celine

the title refers to some silly anecdote about a cat owned by (or invented by? idk) French writer Frédéric Vitoux, who wrote a biography on Céline (another French writer). apparently he was very anti-Semitic. i didn't like the structure of this essay at all,

4 / 2
208

The Friend of a Friend
on Walter Benjamin & Gershom Scholem

apparently they were friends and wrote each letters from 1932-1940, which were recently published. this essay had some interesting insights into Walter Benjamin, whose work I really need to read

3 / 1
208

The Friend of a Friend
on Walter Benjamin & Gershom Scholem

apparently they were friends and wrote each letters from 1932-1940, which were recently published. this essay had some interesting insights into Walter Benjamin, whose work I really need to read

3 / 1
219

Bad Friday
on Simone Weil

Steiner describes Weil as the only notable female Western philosopher (Simone de Beauvoir and Hannah Arendt were great thinkers but not really philsophers). she was a Jew with (apparently) some internalized anti-Semitism. I don't know what the takeaway is. Maybe I should read her work? But Steiner hasn't really convinced me that it's worth reading.

3 / 0
219

Bad Friday
on Simone Weil

Steiner describes Weil as the only notable female Western philosopher (Simone de Beauvoir and Hannah Arendt were great thinkers but not really philsophers). she was a Jew with (apparently) some internalized anti-Semitism. I don't know what the takeaway is. Maybe I should read her work? But Steiner hasn't really convinced me that it's worth reading.

3 / 0
230

The Lost Garden
on Claude Lévi-Strauss

didn't really care for this one ... Lévi-Strauss was an anthropologist who wrote about "exotic" peoples in, among others, Tristes Tropiques (which is also apparently a moral-metaphysical allegory of human failure)

3 / 0
230

The Lost Garden
on Claude Lévi-Strauss

didn't really care for this one ... Lévi-Strauss was an anthropologist who wrote about "exotic" peoples in, among others, Tristes Tropiques (which is also apparently a moral-metaphysical allegory of human failure)

3 / 0
239

Short Shrift
on E.M. Cioran

a Romanian philosopher and essayist who emigrated to Paris in 1937. wrote some dark but lyrical shit. fairly unmemorable essay, though.

8 / 0
239

Short Shrift
on E.M. Cioran

a Romanian philosopher and essayist who emigrated to Paris in 1937. wrote some dark but lyrical shit. fairly unmemorable essay, though.

8 / 0
249

Ancient Glittering Eyes
on Bertrand Russell

oh this one was great. I didn't realise Russell was so versatile (see note 338). about the life of Bertrand Russell, who had been brought up an aristocrat and later adopted a sort of muted Jacobinism (note 265)

5 / 3
249

Ancient Glittering Eyes
on Bertrand Russell

oh this one was great. I didn't realise Russell was so versatile (see note 338). about the life of Bertrand Russell, who had been brought up an aristocrat and later adopted a sort of muted Jacobinism (note 265)

5 / 3
260

A Tale of Three Cities
of Elias Canetti

a short and kinda forgettable essay about a Nobel Prize-winning German author

0 / 0
260

A Tale of Three Cities
of Elias Canetti

a short and kinda forgettable essay about a Nobel Prize-winning German author

0 / 0
270

La Morte D'Arthur
on Arthur Koeslter

Koestler was a Hungarian-Jewish writer who committed suicide (along with his wife) cus he had a terminal illness? I guess this was a eulogy for him. No real takeaways.

0 / 0
270

La Morte D'Arthur
on Arthur Koeslter

Koestler was a Hungarian-Jewish writer who committed suicide (along with his wife) cus he had a terminal illness? I guess this was a eulogy for him. No real takeaways.

0 / 0
276

The Tongues of Man
on Noam Chomsky

this one was good (or at least more interesting to me). about the two sides of Noam Chomsky: politics, and linguistics (with a focus on the latter). explained some of Chomsky's linguistic views but I don't remember enough to summarize it here. I'll probably have to read his stuff at some point

1 / 1
276

The Tongues of Man
on Noam Chomsky

this one was good (or at least more interesting to me). about the two sides of Noam Chomsky: politics, and linguistics (with a focus on the latter). explained some of Chomsky's linguistic views but I don't remember enough to summarize it here. I'll probably have to read his stuff at some point

1 / 1
295

A Death of Kings
on Chess

about child prodigies in chess (and how only math and music have comparable in that regard). not a bad essay but i wasn't super interested

3 / 1
295

A Death of Kings
on Chess

about child prodigies in chess (and how only math and music have comparable in that regard). not a bad essay but i wasn't super interested

3 / 1
306

Give the Word
on James Murray & The OED

this one was cool--about the story of how the Oxford English Dictionary was originally compiled (summarised from Caught in the Web of Words). basically Murray over-promised and under-delivered many times and had almost no resources but eventually the first edition was completed (after his death).

2 / 0
306

Give the Word
on James Murray & The OED

this one was cool--about the story of how the Oxford English Dictionary was originally compiled (summarised from Caught in the Web of Words). basically Murray over-promised and under-delivered many times and had almost no resources but eventually the first edition was completed (after his death).

2 / 0
316

An Examined Life
on Robert Hutchins & The University of Chicago

a very personal essay about Hutchins, who had been the chancellor of the University of Chicago when Steiner attended (somehow he got his B.A. at age 19, after transferring from Yale). this essay was mildly interesting but had no real relevance to me.

4 / 0
316

An Examined Life
on Robert Hutchins & The University of Chicago

a very personal essay about Hutchins, who had been the chancellor of the University of Chicago when Steiner attended (somehow he got his B.A. at age 19, after transferring from Yale). this essay was mildly interesting but had no real relevance to me.

4 / 0