Edward W Said

Topics: Western world, Orient, Orientalism Pages: 3 (1056 words) Published: October 31, 2012
Edward W .Said Prof. S. Jayaraman. Edward W. Said was born in Palestine. He was educated in Palestine and Egypt. He later migrated to America. For the first time, it was Edward Said who challenged the established theory of the western orientalists. He brought together overwhelming material evidence to expose the dominant European imperialistic point of view, in his path - breaking book ‘Orientalism’. In that book, Said exposes the hidden agenda of imperialism to cultivate and keep orientalism to sustain Western hegemony over the orient. Crisis.

‘Crisis’ is one of the remarkable essays of Said’s classic work ‘Orientalism. In this essay, he exposes the limitations of Orientalism. He says that it is outright folly to base one’s ideas of reality on what he calls “a textual attitude.” Orient was created, materialized and sustained by the texts of the Western Orientalists. What is fed through books need not be real. The Orientalism as enunciated in books by Orientalists is a concept about the Orient and the Orientals. But, it is far removed from reality. Quite unfortunately, the Orient, through its silence, has made itself available to Europe. The Orient does not speak. Only its Napoleon and the Lessaps speak for it. The history, character and destiny of the Orient have been shaped through centuries by the Western scholars. Thus was born Orintalism,a concept, that “over rode the Orient.” On the thematic level, the West has put it into an ethnic typology. It is a master- slave relationship that was assiduously built up. This is what Anwar Abdel Malek has clearly brought out as the “Otherness” as propagated by the Orientalists. It is passive, non- participatory and non- autonomous.

Edward Said points to the fact that Orientalism as a discipline was dominated by Britain and France during the late eighteenth and the nineteenth centuries. After that, America came in. The subjectivism in the study of Schlegal became general Orientalist...
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