George Steiner bequest

Professor George Steiner’s donation

I was recently delighted to catalogue and add to our collections a number of rare German philosophy and literature titles. These rather special books came from the library of the eminent literary scholar, the late Professor George Steiner who sadly died earlier this year. Numerous obituaries have been published outlining his career and achievements. George Steiner had finally settled in Cambridge after a long career which took him from the University of Chicago to Harvard, Oxford, Princeton and Geneva. Living in Cambridge he became a regular user of the University Library and it was his wish that some of the most precious volumes of his library should come eventually to the University Library.

The volumes now added are mostly first editions and range from works by Kant and Schelling to the first published work by Wittgenstein. But the majority of the titles are works by Heinrich Heine. They include one of Heine’s earliest works, the second part of his Reisebilder, published in 1835 and one of his most famous ones Deutschland, ein Wintermärchen, published in 1844. The copy of the second part of the Reisebilder is particularly special as it bears a dedication by Heinrich Heine to his uncle Salomon Heine who supported Heinrich Heine financially throughout his life.
The odd, slightly different title included in the books from George Steiner’s library is a German translation of an American self-help manual published in 1908. This book was given in 1963 to George Steiner by Hugo Siebenschein, a Prague based philologist. The book has a stamp “F. Kafka” so we assume that it might have once belonged to Franz Kafka.
The books from George Steiner’s library are a valuable addition to the library’s holdings. The library is very grateful for this generous donation.


Immanuel Kant: Der einzig mögliche Beweisgrund zu einer Demonstration des Daseyns Gottes. Königsberg, 1763 (7001.d.296)

Immanuel Kant: Grundlegung zur Metaphysik der Sitten. Riga, 1785 (7001.d.285)

Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph von Schelling: Bruno : oder, Über das göttliche und natürliche Princip der Dinge. Berlin, 1802 (8001.d.746)

Friedrich Schiller: Der Geisterseher : aus den Papieren des Grafen von O***. München, 1835 (8001.d.747)

Heinrich Heine: Reisebilder. Zweiter Theil. Hamburg, 1827. (F182.d.1.26)

Heinrich Heine: De la France. Paris, 1833 (8001.d.748)

Heinrich Heine: Französische Zustände. Hamburg, 1833 (8001.d.749)

Heinrich Heine: Deutschland : ein Wintermährchen. Hamburg, 1844 (8001.d.751)

Heinrich Heine: Heinrich Heine über Ludwig Börne. Hamburg, 1840 (8001.d.750)

Alfred Meissner: Heinrich Heine : Erinnerungen. New York, 1856 (8001.c.592)

Ludwig Wittgenstein: Logisch-philosophische Abhandlung. Leipzig, 1921 (F192.c.1.13)

Orison Swett Marden: Was du tust, das tue recht! Stuttgart, 1910 (F191.d.1.9)

Christian Staufenbiel

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