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Culture and Imperialism

Culture and Imperialism

Paperback Vintage Books

By (author) Edward W. Said

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  • Publisher: VINTAGE
  • Format: Paperback | 480 pages
  • Dimensions: 130mm x 196mm x 36mm | 340g
  • Publication date: 3 January 1998
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 0099967502
  • ISBN 13: 9780099967507
  • Sales rank: 19,186

Product description

Following his profoundly influential study, "Orientalism", Edward Said now examines western culture. From Jane Austen to Salman Rushdie, from Yeats to media coverage of the Gulf War, "Culture and Imperialism" is a broad, fierce and wonderfully readable account of the roots of imperialism in European culture.

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Author information

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.

Review quote

"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

Editorial reviews

Said's latest book largely reiterates his familiar argument for cultural recognition of the "Other" (more cogently marshalled in his Orientalism, 1978), particularly the colonized "Other" that has been molded in popular perception by the crucial (to Said) element of Western imperialism. Perusing Verdi's Aida, Conrad's Heart of Darkness, Kipling's Kim, even Jane Austen's Mansfield Park, Said insists that the fact that one culture has dominated another is the subtext for any 19th-century exploration of the exotic - or even, in Austen's case, for "the ordination" of the colonizer's rights and local freedoms. Said, though a gifted professor, is a gluey stylist ("Moreover, the various struggles for dominance among states, nationalisms, ethnic groups, regions, and cultural entities have conducted and simplified a manipulation of opinion and discourse, a production and consumption of ideological media representations, a simplification and reduction of vast complexities into easy currency, the easier to deploy and exploit them in the interest of state politics") - and he is certainly subject to his own charges of simplification. Didn't colonized cultures have, in turn, their own colonies, imperialisms, dominations? Has there ever been a human society in which the "Other," the "impure," the "raw," the "strange" hasn't been used as a lever for advantage? Is culture, for that matter, supposed to be complex and fair - or is it, rather, self-essential and reflective? Said spends no time weighing these questions, which he sends out onto the field but never puts in play. It's following the sections of highly tenuous lit-crit here that Said's lack of focus and ill-thought-out positions become most apparent. Drifting screeds and apologies - against the Gulf War, for Oliver Stone's JFK and the equally astigmatic Salman Rushdie - plus ever more academic recommendations of scholarly books Said agrees with give his own a tiresome, soapboxy sensibility, undercutting its formality and most of its seriousness. (Kirkus Reviews)