Critical Essays On Postcolonial Literature-Bijay Kumar Das Essay English Literature History
Said directly challenged what Euro-American scholars traditionally referred to as "Orientalism." Orientalism is an entrenched structure of thought, a pattern of making certain generalizations about the part of the world known as the 'East'.
As Said puts it: Just to be clear, Said didn't invent the term 'Orientalism'; it was a term used especially by middle east specialists, Arabists, as well as many who studied both East Asia and the Indian subcontinent.
His writings have been translated into 26 languages, including his most influential book, (1978), an examination of the way the West perceives the Islamic world. It has been influential in about half a dozen established disciplines, especially literary studies (English, comparative literature), history, anthropology, sociology, area studies (especially middle east studies), and comparative religion. Put highly reductively, the development of his thought can be understood as follows: Said’s early work began with a gesture of refusal and rejection, and ended with a kind of ambivalent acceptance.
Much of his writing beyond literary and cultural criticism is inspired by his passionate advocacy of the Palestinian cause, including (1988). If explored with a less confrontational tone the complex and ongoing relationships between east and west, colonizer and colonized, white and black, and metropolitan and colonial societies.
The influence from Foucault is wide-ranging and thorough, but it is perhaps most pronounced when Said argues that Orientalism is a full-fledged discourse, not just a simple idea, and when he suggests that all knowledge is produced in situations of unequal relations of power.
In short, a person who dominates another is the only one in a position to write a book about it, to establish it, to define it.
It’s not a particular moral failing that the stereotypical failing defined as Orientalism emerged in western thinking, and not somewhere else.
But Said did acknowledge Conrad’s gift for , and explored its implications: Conrad was sophisticated enough to sense that he did indeed have a blind spot.
Conrad recognized that the idea of imperialism was an illusion, built entirely on a very fragile mythic rhetoric. ." The lines are spoken by the sailor Marlowe, who was in effect an observer-participant to the scene of Kurtz’s fatal breakdown in the upper Congo.