From the author of Orientalism, a searching examination of western culture and the roots of imperialism
Edward Said was born in Jerusalem in 1935. In 1951 he attended a private preparatory high school in Massachusetts, America and he went on to study at Princeton University for his BA and at Yale for his MA and PhD. He became University Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia Unversity. Said was bestowed with numerous honorary doctorates from universities around the world and twice received Columbia's Trilling Award and the Wellek Prize of the American Comparative Literature Association. He is best known for describing and critiquing 'Orientalism' and his book on the subject was published in 1978. He died in 2003.
Said's ( Orientalism ) main theme in this dense, academic study is how literature has reflected and bolstered British, French and U.S. imperialisms, which use self-justifying rhetoric to condone the West's dominance and exploitation of non-Western people. Said, University Professor at Columbia University where he teaches English and comparative literature, teases what he regards as imperialist assumptions out of Jane Austen's Mansfield Park, Rudyard Kipling's Kim , Verdi's Aida and Andre Gide's The Immoralist. In his view, Joseph Conrad was both an anti-imperialist and a deeply reactionary precursor of Western blindness to Third World cultures and aspirations. He tweaks Albert Camus's ``colonial sensibility,'' interprets Melville's Moby-Dick as a parable of U.S. expansionism and reads W. B. Yeats as an Irish national poet voicing resistance to British rule. He also looks at writers such as Salman Rushdie and Chinua Achebe who have asserted the right of Third World citizens to self-determination. Finally, Said castigates the media for its role in justifying U.S. intervention abroad, whether in Panama or during the Gulf war. (Feb.)
"Culture and Imperialism has an eloquent, urgent topicality rare in books by literary critics" -- Camille Paglia "Readers accustomed to the precision and elegance of Edward Said's analytical prowess will not be disappointed by Culture and Imperialism. Those discovering Said for the first time will be profoundly impressed" -- Toni Morrison "Edward Said helps us to understand who we are and what we must do if we are to aspire to be moral agents, not servants of power" -- Noam Chomsky