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Edward Said: The Charisma of Criticism by Harold Aram Veeser

By Harold Aram Veeser

This insightful severe biography indicates us an Edward acknowledged we didn't comprehend. H. Aram Veeser brings forth no longer the stated of tabloid tradition, or acknowledged the distant thinker, however the genuine guy, embedded within the politics of the center East yet soaked within the values of the West and suffering to improve the simplest ecu rules. Veeser exhibits the natural ties connecting his lifestyles, politics, and criticism.

Drawing on what he realized over 35 years as Said’s scholar and skeptical admirer, Veeser makes use of never-before-published interviews, debate transcripts, and images to find a acknowledged who had few inhibitions and loathed traditional regimen. He stood for originality, enjoyed specific principles, wore fabulous outfits, and fought with molten fury. For two decades he embraced and rejected, while, not just the West, but additionally literary conception and the PLO. finally, his disgust with business-as-usual politics and feedback marooned him at the sidelines of both.

The candid story of Said’s upward push from elite educational precincts to the area degree transforms not just our knowing of Said—the guy and the myth—but additionally our belief of ways intellectuals could make their manner on the earth.

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Extra resources for Edward Said: The Charisma of Criticism

Example text

In his imagination, the Palestinian liberation movement became a romantic and inspired quest to shake off the injustice of dispossession. Palestinians were being made to pay exorbitant compensation for the crimes of European anti-­Semitism—crimes they had not committed and scarcely knew. In that sense, Said flirted with, and perhaps exploited, the lure of extreme radical romanticism, whose unholy excitements took the form of third-­world liberation movements. ”18 Liberationist romanticism weighed against the abiding, stereotypically Orientalist sin of fatalism and passivity that Said unequivocally rejected.

Joseph Conrad1 The popular image of Said as an activist/ideologue locked into his own doctrine is the opposite of the Said I encountered at Columbia, a restless character who could not embrace any position or idea without simultaneously pushing it away. Foes painted him as an evil ideologue-­automaton who was the implacable agent of much bigger forces. Friends rewrote him to make him consistent, logical, and imitable. But friends and foes alike tried to routinize and institutionalize his charisma.

I registered the black cashmere blazer he wore over a wide-­striped tailored shirt. Of course, coming from the provinces, I didn’t know his coat was cashmere or that his shirt had been commissioned from an English haberdasher. All I knew was that he looked like nothing else this seventeen-­year-old boy had seen in his life: pressed and polished, full of eye and hand contact, a busy man of the world who was nonetheless courtly and attentive to me, only a lost student asking for his signature. I wondered where he was going, that he should be in such a rush.

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