George Steiner, a literary polymath and man of letters whose voluminous criticism often dealt with the paradox of literature’s moral power and its impotence in the face of an event like the Holocaust, died on Monday at his home in Cambridge, England. He was 90.

His many books include “Language and Silence: Essays on Language, Literature and the Inhuman” (1967), “In Bluebeard’s Castle: Some Notes Towards the Redefinition of Culture” (1971) and “After Babel: Aspects of Language and Translation” (1975).

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