Reflections on Exile and Other Essays by Edward W. Said
(Convergences: Inventories of the Present)

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With their powerful blend of political and aesthetic concerns, Edward W. Said's writings have transformed the field of literary studies. This long-awaited collection of literary and cultural essays, the first since Harvard University Press published The World, the Text, and the Critic in 1983, reconfirms what no one can doubt--that Said is the most impressive, consequential, and elegant critic of our time--and offers further evidence of how much the fully engaged critical mind can contribute to the reservoir of value, thought, and action essential to our lives and our culture.

As in the title essay, the widely admired "Reflections on Exile," the fact of his own exile and the fate of the Palestinians have given both form and the force of intimacy to the questions Said has pursued. Taken together, these essays--from the famous to those that will surprise even Said's most assiduous followers--afford rare insight into the formation of a critic and the development of an intellectual vocation. Said's topics are many and diverse, from the movie heroics of Tarzan to the machismo of Ernest Hemingway to the shades of difference that divide Alexandria and Cairo. He offers major reconsiderations of writers and artists such as George Orwell, Giambattista Vico, Georg Lukacs, R. P. Blackmur, E. M. Cioran, Naguib Mahfouz, Herman Melville, Joseph Conrad, Walter Lippman, Samuel Huntington, Antonio Gramsci, and Raymond Williams. Invigorating, edifying, acutely attentive to the vying pressures of personal and historical experience, his book is a source of immeasurable intellectual delight.


About Edward W. Said

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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.
Published February 19, 2001 by Harvard University Press. 656 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Political & Social Sciences, Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

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Publishers Weekly

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The real heart of the collection is Columbia professor Edward Said's memoir, inspired when ""an ugly medical diagnosis suddenly revealed the mortality I should have known about before."" His experience of receiving a colonial education just as the colonial system crumbled, of loving the world ope...

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Project MUSE

Readers conversant with major works by Edward Said such as Orientalism (1978), The World, the Text, and the Critic (1983), and Culture and Imperialism (1993) will find these and other familiar themes reprised throughout this collection of forty-five essays published (except the final one) in book...

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