Edwars Said was born a Palestinian Arab in Jerusalem in 1935, and was American through his father, Wadie Saïd, who was a U.S. Citizen. Wadie Saïd, his father moved to Cairo, before the birth of his son . He spent much of his childhood travelling back and forth from Cairo to Jerusalem, visiting relatives. Saïd said that in his childhood he lived “between worlds” — like Cairo (Egypt) and in Jerusalem (Palestine).
Here are some of his words from this period of life:
"I was an uncomfortably anomalous student all through my early years: a Palestinian going to school in Egypt, with an English first name, an American passport, and no certain identity at all. To make matters worse, Arabic, my native language, and English, my school language, were inextricably mixed: I have never known which was my first language, and have felt fully at home in neither, although I dream in both. Every time I speak an English sentence, I find myself echoing it in Arabic, and vice versa"
In 1951, Saïd was expelled from Victoria College for being a troublemaker, and was sent from Egypt to the United States, where he had a miserable year of feeling out of place; yet he excelled academically, achieving the rank of either first or second in a class of one hundred sixty students. He matured into an intellectual young man, fluent in the English, French, and Arabic languages. (he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Princeton University (1957), then a Master of Arts degree (1960) and a Doctoral Degree in English Literature (1964) from Harvard University.)
Reflections on Exile and Other Essays brings together forty-six essays. The title essay, originally published in 1984 deals with Said’s own condition of exile, and with the implications of exile for those who experience it. While Said sees separation from a homeland as a difficult fate, he believes that the state of detachment gives exiles a unique vision. Being in exile means feeling in estrangement and even if there are romantic and...
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