Books: Is Language Dying?

LANGUAGE AND SILENCE by George Steiner. 426 pages. Afheneum. $8.

"A man can learn half a dozen professions by reading Zola," says George Steiner. And a man can learn the ground rules to half a dozen academic disciplines by reading Steiner—including the art of how to package 31 essays into an $8 bundle.

Steiner is one of the few critics today who can make such a package a bargain at almost any price. Born in Paris of Austrian parents and educated in France and the U.S., he is at 38 director of English studies at Cambridge's Churchill College and currently Schweitzer Visiting Professor...

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