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Customer Review

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mind changing, August 6, 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Oriental Enlightenment: The Encounter Between Asian and Western Thought (Paperback)
I'll like to write this review partly in relation to the last one written for this book, which, I think, many people will find quite daunting. While I'd agree with the author of that review about the excellence of the book I'd like to give a more accessible view, hoepfully just as Clarke's book provides an accessible approach to very difficult ideas.
Firstly, ,any readers are likely to be put off by all the references to those very difficult postmodern (etc) philosophers who are mentioned, either because they'll think, a) I won't understand that, or b) I'm not into postmodernism. To set your minds at rest, Clarke doesn't engage in the lingusitic exercises of using almost indecipherable language to say very little that is typical of many of this school, also, he sets the postmodern agenda (or, at least parts of it) firmly in his sights and demolishes many of their empty stances based on ideology not fact or reason.
As such we can recommend this book to a)anyone who either doesn't know much about orientalism - he provides an excellent introduction as well as analysis; b) anyone who doesn't know much about postmodernism, as you'll be treated to a critical survey of certain aspects of it; c) supporters of postmodernism, as you'll find an able voice against whom you need to defend your ideas; d) a whole range of people not at all interested in orientalism and postmodernism but who have interests in such things as cross-cultural encounter, especially between Europe and Asia, religion, modern European thought, etc.
As to the contents of this book, Clarke surveys the history of the encounter between East and West (Asia and Europe) to show that claims that the two stand as polar opposites which have no connection is untenable. with lucid commentary, clarke deals with the views of orientalists and postmodernists and presnts a more balanced and less Euro-centric approach. for more details, using technical terms which Clarke aptly leads the uninitiated through with subtlety and clarity, whilst providing new insights which will give food for thought for even those well read within this area.
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