Reflections on Exile: And Other Literary and Cultural Essays

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Granta, 2001 - Criticism - 617 pages
This collection brings together Edward Said's essays on literary and cultural topics from over three decades. As the title essay shows, Said's own exile and the fate of the Palestinians have given form to the questions he has pursued. These essays give an insight into the formation of the critic and the development of an intellectual vocation. They cover a diverse range of topics, from the heroics of Tarzan to the machismo of Ernest Hemingway. Said offers different angles on writers and artists such as George Orwell, Herman Melville, Joseph Conrad, and Raymond Williams. Many of the central debates in the humanities over the last 30 years are addressed.

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About the author (2001)

Born in Jerusalem and educated at Victoria College in Cairo and at Princeton and Harvard universities, Edward Said has taught at Columbia University since 1963 and has been a visiting professor at Harvard and Johns Hopkins University. 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. 1) and as one of the most significant contemporary writers on the Middle East, especially the Palestinian question and the plight of Palestinians living in the occupied territories. Although he is not a trained historian, his Orientalism (1978) is one of the most stimulating critical evaluations of traditional Western writing on Middle Eastern history, societies, and literature. In the controversial Covering Islam (1981), he examined how the Western media have biased Western perspectives on the Middle East. A Palestinian by birth, Said has sought to show how Palestinian history differs from the rest of Arabic history because of the encounter with Jewish settlers and to present to Western readers a more broadly representative Palestinian position than they usually obtain from Western sources. Said is presently Old Dominion Foundation Professor in the Humanities at Columbia, editor of Arab Studies Quarterly, and chair of the board of trustees of the Institute of Arab Studies. He is a member of the Palestinian National Council as well as the Council on Foreign Relations in New York.

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