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Friday, September 25, 2009

Edward Said (1935 - 2003)

Two excellent posts on Edward Said from 3quarksdaily -An Eclectic Digest of Science, Art and Literature ~~t

There are a very few intellectuals --–Bertrand Russell, E.P. Thompson, and Noam Chomsky come to mind in the English-speaking world--- whose writings and whose lives provide a kind of pole that thousands of people look toward so as to feel that they are not wholly lost or marginal for possessing instincts for justice and humanity, and for thinking that some small steps might be taken towards their achievement. Edward Said was, without a doubt, such a man. The daze and despair so many of us here at Columbia feel, now that we have taken in that he has gone, is only a very local sign of what is a global loss without measure. And to think of what it must be like for his own brutalized people to lose him, is unbearable. Edward was, as they say, ‘many things to many people’, and though he was too vast to be contained by a mere university, even one as uncloistered as Columbia, he was a teacher and took great pride in being one. So let me say something about that first. Akeel Bilgrami remembers Edward W. Said

The first time I saw Edward Said, in 1993, I was an undergraduate studying literature at Johns Hopkins, where he had come to give a lecture. An extremely pretentious young person, I arrived in the large hall (much larger than the halls in which other visiting literature professors spoke) with a mixture of awe and, I'm afraid to say, condescension. This was born of the immature idea that the author of Orientalism had ceased to occupy the leading edge of the field, postcolonial studies, which his work had called into being. At that time, the deconstructionist Homi Bhabha and the Marxist Aijaz Ahmad were publishing revisions of (and, in the case of Ahmad, ad hominem attacks on) Said's work, and Said himself seemed to be retreating from "theory" back to some vaguely unfashionable (so it seemed to me) version of humanism.
Edward Said (1935 - 2003) By Asad Raza


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