Tributes have been paid to influential literary critic George Steiner following his death in Cambridge aged 90.
A former leader writer at The Economist and critic at The Observer, Steiner was a professor of English in Geneva for 30 years before becoming the first Lord Weidenfeld professor of comparative literature at Oxford in 1994.
An essayist, he published a series of highly influential books on figures such as Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Pythagoras, Aristotle, Dante and Nietzsche, but also tackled wider issues, such as the limits of language to respond to atrocities.
The Holocaust was never far from his thoughts. Born in 1929 in Paris, his family fled the French capital for the US in 1940, shortly before the Nazis occupied the city. He was one of only two Jewish pupils at his French school to survive.
Peers this week called him “an extraordinary figure” and “an inspirational teacher” who many regarded as one of Europe’s leading intellectuals.
Robert McCrum, a former student who later edited Steiner at Faber & Faber, recalled hearing him at Churchill College in Cambridge. “His lectures were sell-outs, with applause at the end,” said McCrum. “We were all completely in his thrall. The performance was staggering.”