From Publishers Weekly
"I'm the last Jewish intellectual.... The only true follower of Adorno. Let me put it this way: I'm a Jewish-Palestinian," says Said provocatively in a 2000 interview in the leading Israeli newspaper, Ha'aretz. A pathbreaking intellectual and renowned political activist, Said never consents to being pigeonholed. These interviews trace his thoughtful perspectives and his unflinching candor about Middle Eastern politics. A Palestinian who spent much of his childhood in Egypt, Said has long fought for the Palestinian cause and has spoken out against recent Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations and against Yasir Arafat, whom he calls "unreformable." His most famous book, Orientalism (1978), explored how Western intellectuals have viewed and represented the Arab world. In the spirit of that volume, in the 1980s, Said observed how U.S. media cast "[t]he Middle East as a place whose violent and incomprehensible events are routinely referred back to a distant past full of `ancient' tribal, religious, or ethnic hatreds." Said, a literature professor at Columbia University (where Viswanathan is his colleague), has also received accolades as a literary and cultural critic. Spanning 25 years, these interviews enhance both of these reputations. The first part, concerning literary criticism and cultural theory, demonstrates Said's willingness to think outside of the box of prescribed progressive convictions. For example, as a passionate believer in combining scholarship with activism, he's unafraid to criticize academic Marxists for failing to combine theories and practice. The interviews in the second part center on Said's attempt to find practical applications for his political ideas, primarily in the Middle East. He also discusses Saddam Hussein, nationalism, Salman Rushdie's underground existence, classical music and a host of other topics. Those interested in an overview of Said's ideas and oeuvre should start with this book.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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From Library Journal
This is a collection of wide-ranging interviews given over the past 30 years by Edward Said (e.g., Orientalism), the disting- uished Palestinian American intellectual. Edited with an introduction by Viswan-athan, professor of English and comparative literature at Columbia University, where Said also teaches, the book demonstrates the depth and breadth of Said's scholarship on such diverse topics as literary criticism, the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and peace process, the Gulf War, censorship and repression in the Arab world, American intellectuals and Middle East politics, the music of Glenn Gould, and culture and imperialism. These interviews have previously appeared in diverse publications in the United States, Europe, the Arab world, Israel, India, and Pakistan. By bringing them together in one collection, the editor has captured Said's lifelong commitment to scholarship and political activism qualities that have made him one of the foremost cultural and literary critics of our time as well as a committed intellectual and defender of oppressed people in the Third World, especially in the Arab world and Israel. Highly recommended for public and academic libraries. Nader Entessar, Spring Hill Coll., Mobile, AL
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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