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am 11. Januar 2000
Call it Romantic, Victorian, or whatever, the period marked by European ascendancy is not known for its vigorous defense of the ideals it set out to establish and solidify. To the eye of the unforgiving Eastern intellectual, this lack of vigor is nothing short of racism; objectification of other peoples, disinformation, and misinformation about these subject peoples were after all the result of wilful state policies. Hence is Jane AUSTEN's inability to explore the Mother TERESA inside herself.
That's why, I believe, we should try to listen to each other's story more patiently, with an open heart and a clean mind. After all, it probably was not such romantic times for some!
For this reason, Edward SAID's book provides a wonderful challenge for Western readers... I, as a Turk squeezed between these artificial plates of bigotry, found a lot in it.
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am 17. Dezember 2013
Den versteckten Imperialismus - den der Literatur - hat Said in diesem epochalen Werk aufgedeckt und analysiert wie ich es sonst nie zuvor gesehen habe. Jeder, der bis dato mit bestem Lesevergnügen Bücher wie das Dschungelbuch (Kipling) gelesen hat, wird so etwas in Zukunft nicht mehr ohne Vorbehalte tun können. Said bleibt im Hinterkopf...
Eine winzige Kritik an Said: Er hätte sein Werk vielleicht zutreffender "Literature & Imperialism" nennen sollen, denn große Bereiche der Kultur - Malerei, Kleidung und auch Journale oder Tageszeitungen - werden nicht einbezogen.
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am 29. April 2003
Pro: The book is interesting and especially relevant today, in times of a 'war against terrorism' and the 'axis of evil'.
Con: It is hard to understand, especially if one has not read 'Orientalism' and is unfamiliar with postmodern theories.
This 'international bestseller' is well-known in academia, but probably not very much outside of it. And it is probably not very useful -and not very intelligible- for John Smith. After Edward Said's 'Orientalism', this book is a more factual discourse on the relationship between 'The West' and 'The Orient' (that is mainly the Middle East). Even though it was written in 1995, it explains the reasoning behind the latest Iraq war (2003) very well, as American (and Western) standpoints are explained in various ways. His main thesis is that the discourse (in Foucault's sense) on the Middle East is responsible for the West's treatment of 'the Others'. In 'Orientalism', Said succeeds in explaining this relationship, whereas this oeuvre shows its effects. It is possible to comprehend 'Culture and Imperialism' without having read 'Orientalism', but it is not recommendable. Still, it will give you a different view of the world, of the media and its coverage, and even of 'innocent' literature that you thought was merely a work of art - for everything has an effect on our world view!
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am 20. Mai 1999
This is certainly an overhyped book, and in fact there are a great many scholars that have investigated this material before; it's just that Said manages to get it all in one book, and makes it a pleasure to read. I suppose we now have to ask whether this economically and educationally priviledged male is genuinely on the side of the oppressed people in economically depressed 'third world' nations. Something tells me that he more than occassionally finds something attractive in what he claims is the litearture of conquest. There are of course more original voices working in post-colonial cultural studies today, but it is doubtful if any of them write with such clarity and assurance as Said.
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am 3. Dezember 1997
I found this book riveting--provocative, insightful, and thankfully, free of JARGON. A fresh, erudite, yet luckily, stuffy-free work.
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am 23. Mai 2013
Ich kann sagen, dass die Qualität sehr gut ist und Ich mag den Inhalt. Ich erhielt auch das Buch zum richtigen Zeitpunkt.
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am 10. November 1999
I promise I'll explain my one-star rating better than "A reader from Earth" did. First, stylistically, this book is weak. Said's hotheaded political points are put in a very dry writing style--for the reader it's like eating boiled cardboard sprinkled with tabasco sauce. Also, although it seems neatly laid out in the table of contents, the book moves along in herky-jerky fashion; it's obviously cobbled together from various pieces that Said published in journals and magazines. Where the book's central argument is concerned--well, it doesn't have one. When Said writes about Joseph Conrad's ethnocentrism, he's taking aim at a very broad target--you don't need a tenured professor to tell you that Latin American's native inhabitants are objectified in "Nostromo." Meanwhile, when Said tries to show us that Jane Austen is involved in the imperial mission, he's not convincing at all. For example, he says that although Antigua gets only six lines of reference in Mansfield Park, this is "marginalization" that only reinforces Austen's unthinking acceptance of Europe's economic domination of the Third World. By this line of thinking, a 19th-century English novel that had NO references to overseas colonies would be the MOST imperialistic of novels, since, after all, England was economically dependent on imperialism. This cultural analysis relies on vulgar Marxism of the worst sort. Then Said turns to vulgar Foucauldianism (redundant, I guess--Foucault's vulgar to begin with), as he argues that Austen's depiction of "social space" in England parallels the imperialistic domination of social space in Antigua. Whatever. This is a very weak argument theoretically, and has an ad-hoc quality. (Also, half-baked theory like this can be taken to any extreme. Couldn't a radical African intellectual, taking it upon himself to speak for "traditional African custom," argue that James Ngugi's "Petals of Blood" has a European- and Marx-influenced narrative that dominates African social space with a totalizing discourse and "otherizes" the peasant, even though Ngugi superficially SEEMS sympathetic to this peasant? One could use Said's logic to bolster this cartoonish argument. In the end, this theory leads to the following position: "Everyone's an ideologue except me.") As one last note, at the same time that Said is too critical of various Western novelists and thinkers, he's not critical enough of the West's long-term influence on places like Africa. He's a sort of cultural Marxist--in dialetical fashion, Europe creates the conditions for "national liberation," then is overthrown. But should we celebrate the idea of national liberation? Basil Davidson, in "The Black Man's Burden," argues that the nation-state has been a bad thing for Africa, and that forms of social organization that preexisted European conquest might have been better alternatives. Said doesn't think this deeply; by being so gung-ho about national liberation, he ends up being very Eurocentric indeed. (Not only is the modern nation-state a European invention, but in an African context it's quite artificial--besides the Davidson argument, we might want to consider that Africa would be better off if it were ONE big nation-state, much like the United States. We shouldn't celebrate the idea of "independent nationhood" before we look at the enormous variation in what a nation is and can be. Said is too "essentialistic" when it comes to Third World nations; he seems in love with the idea of resistance and revolution.) Anyway, I don't mean to make it sound like this book stimulates a lot of thought--mostly it's just annoying. Scientific research has shown that reading too much Foucault and vulgar Marxism melts your brain--Dr. Said should look into this.
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