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The tone of voice often indicates the answer required. Orientalism , published in , was not widely read for some years afterwards; and though now often treated by admirers and critics alike as a key text for our times, was not particularly well received on the Left. This journal did not even review it. Ironically, one might argue that the vitriolic attacks on it by critics like Bernard Lewis actually helped to draw attention to what was at stake in it, and make the book the phenomenon it became.
For the Left, Orientalism was certainly not a historical materialist work: it bore no relation to the kinds of political economy dominant in the late s. The name caused problems of pronunciation, even of comprehension. Out of Place shows it was by no means simple for Said himself. How could this individual be an Arab? These confusions were indicative of the moment. Orientalism was published at a time when the very idea of an Arab intellectual was difficult to grasp in the West.
Politically informed cultural and colonial studies were still quite new. If the underlying assumptions of that time have been challenged in the two succeeding decades, no individual has made a greater intellectual contribution to the change of climate than Said. Critical, argumentative, polemical, seemingly tireless—indeed, as this memoir tells us, sleepless—he has poured out books, articles, reviews, lectures and television programmes on subjects from European colonialism to American media, Schumann to Verdi, Camus to Foucault, Conrad to Arafat.
Above all, he has given enduring voice to the cause of Palestinian freedom. As much of academia has sunk into market-driven, self-regarding professionalism, or the anxious guardianship of ever-smaller intellectual territories, Said has remained true to the passions of his interests, the embodiment of a sense of calling.
Out of Place is the record of an often painful interrogation, when a time came for Said to question himself. There was always something wrong with how I was invented and meant to fit in with the world of my parents and four sisters. The text undermines our assumptions about who he is, and some of what were once his own. Author of an early study entitled Beginnings: Intention and Method , Said is a profound reader of Joseph Conrad, whose narrative techniques he knows intimately and with whom he clearly has certain dark affinities.
The first three lines of the book draw the reader into a somewhat unexpected compact. This is the story of someone, deeply flawed in his making, who could not have been other than he is: child of Christian Palestinians in colonial Cairo, without social supports, sustaining themselves by a bricolage of habits and values patched together from multiple Arab, American and British sources.
This boy exists in the social world: he speaks three languages, Arabic, English and French, but does not truly command any of them. The tensions in Out of Place come from the juxtaposition, oscillation and interpenetration of active and passive constituents within the complex figure s of Said himself, and in his triangular relationship with his parents: movements plotted with a scruple that lends power and coherence to scenes of impotence and inchoateness.
Part of the price paid for this achievement is made clear in the Acknowledgements and Preface the other part only becomes apparent in the telling.
This is an autobiography written in the shadow of an all too determinate illness, the leukaemia which has drained his life for some eight or nine years. Said writes out of a double sense of loss, of a past and a future. But he also tells us that writing it created a space of pleasure and demand—striking combination—that freed what he discovered to be a startlingly detailed memory in ways that his many other writings and activities did not. Such a space is what the narrative represents as having been almost entirely denied in early life.
Actively using the experience of disease to redirect his relentless energies into memory, Said has reclaimed something vital, long repressed, in himself. Other activities, other writings, other preoccupations are present in this memoir, but—as he puts it—allusively. That is the second surprise of Out of Place. It does not, as one might too easily assume, refer pre-eminently to Palestine, the focus of so many of his articles and books.
There are a few pages about Jerusalem, more on the Lebanese village where the family spent stultifying vacations, and yet more on Cairo, since that was their main home. But the book does not seek to describe the Cairo of the late British and early independence period in any detail.
It remains deliberately within the oddly truncated world of the family itself. There are tributes to individuals—a tireless aunt, Nabiha, who battled for the care of refugees in Cairo after , or a moving evocation of a young Communist doctor, Farid Haddad, tortured to death in an Egyptian jail.
Multiple political events and activities inform the memoir, as they structured the life; but they do so indirectly. Email required. Password required. Subscribe for instant access to all articles since Shouldn't I have access to this article via my library? Previous Daniele Archibugi. Next Christine Delphy.
The Geocritical Legacies of Edward W. Said pp Cite as. The only difference I see is that one worldliness is a little bit honester than another. Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF. Skip to main content.
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Said, Edward W. Beginnings: intention and method. Includes bibliographical references.,. 1. Literature-History and criticism-Theory, etc. I. Title. PNS3. .
The tone of voice often indicates the answer required. Orientalism , published in , was not widely read for some years afterwards; and though now often treated by admirers and critics alike as a key text for our times, was not particularly well received on the Left. This journal did not even review it.
No eBook available Amazon. He has had an unusual dual career as a professor of comparative literature, a recognized expert on the novelist and short story writer Joseph Conrad, see Vol. Although he is not a trained historian, his Orientalism is one of the most stimulating critical evaluations of traditional Western writing on Middle Eastern history, societies, and literature.
Purchasing options are not available in this country. Beginnings Intention and Method Edward W. Said Columbia University Press.
Army veteran. As a cultural critic , Said is known for the book Orientalism , a critique of the cultural representations that are the bases of Orientalism —how the Western world perceives the Orient. He defined his oppositional relation with the status quo as the remit of the public intellectual who has "to sift, to judge, to criticize, to choose, so that choice and agency return to the individual" man and woman. This initiative brings together, every summer, a group of young classical musicians from Israel, the Palestinian territories and Arab countries to study, perform and to promote mutual reflection and understanding. Barenboim and Said jointly received the Prince of Asturias Awards for their work in "improving understanding between nations".
We currently have no profile for this work, but you can consult our general article on Said's life and works. If you need to create a new bookshelf to save this article in, please make sure that you are logged in, then go to your 'Account' here. Toggle navigation. Edward Said: Beginnings: Intention and Method. The Literary Encyclopedia.
PDF | On Jan 1, , Gurminder K. Bhambra published Beginnings: Edward W. Said, Edward W. ()  Beginnings: Intention and Method, New York.
Access options available:. Abdirahman A. London and New York: Verso, Freud and the Non-European. Edward W. Even before his death last year, critics had agreed on the defining characteristics of Edward Said's career.
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