By Edward W. Said
"Orientalism" is likely one of the maximum and such a lot influential of books of rules to be released because the finish of the ecu empires. For generations now it has outlined our figuring out of colonialism and empire and with every one passing 12 months its impact turns into if whatever even better. To mark its twenty fifth anniversary, "Orientalism" rightfully takes its position as a Pengun glossy vintage.
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Extra resources for Orientalism: Western Conceptions of the Orient (Penguin Modern Classics)
Along the way, as severely and as rationally as I have been able, I have tried to maintain a critical consciousness, as well as employing those instruments of historical, humanistic, and cultural research of which my education has made me the fortunate beneficiary. " The historical circumstances making such a study possible are fairly complex, and I can only list them schematically here. Anyone resident in the West since the 1950s, particularly in the United States, will have lived through an era of extraordinary turbulence in the relations of East and West.
What interests me most as a scholar is not the gross political verity but the detail, as indeed what interests us in someone like Lane or Flaubert or Renan is not the (to him) indisputable truth that Occidentals are superior to Orientals, but the profoundly worked over and modulated evidence of his detailed work within the very wide space opened up by that truth. One need only remember that Lane's Manners and Customs of the Modern Egyptians is a classic of historical and anthropological observation because of its style, its enormously intelligent and brilliant details, not because of its simple reflection of racial superiority, to understand what I am saying here.
It does not occur to Balfour, however, to let the Egyptian speak for himself, since presumably any Egyptian who would speak out is more likely to be "the agitator [who] wishes to raise difficulties" than the good native who overlooks the "difficulties" of foreign domination. And so, having settled the ethical problems, Balfour turns at last to the practical ones. " What makes their work of governing possible is their sense of being supported at home by a government that endorses what they do. Yet directly the native populations have that instinctive feeling that those with whom they have got to deal have not behind them the might, the authority, the sympathy, the full and ungrudging support of the country which sent them there, those populations lose all that sense of order which is the very basis of their civilisation, just as our officers lose all that sense of power and authority, which is the very basis of everything they can do for the benefit of those among whom they have been sent.
Orientalism: Western Conceptions of the Orient (Penguin Modern Classics) by Edward W. Said