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Description - Out of Place by Edward W. Said

Edward Said experienced both British and American imperialism as the old Arab order crumbled in the late forties and early fifties. This account of his early life reveals the influences that have formed his books, "Orientalism" and "Culture and Imperialism". Edward Said was born in Jerusalem, and brought up in Cairo, spending every summer in the Lebanese mountain village of Dhour el Shweir, until he was "banished" to America in 1951. This work is a mixture of emotional archaeology and memory, exploring an essentially irrecoverable past. As ill health sets him thinking about endings, Edward Said returns to his beginnings in this personal memoir of his ferociously demanding "Victorian" father, and his adored, inspiring, yet ambivalent mother.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9781862073708
ISBN-10: 1862073708
Format: Paperback
(197mm x 130mm x mm)
Pages: 320
Imprint: Granta Books
Publisher: Granta Books
Publish Date: 21-Sep-2000
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

Other Editions - Out of Place by Edward W. Said

Book Reviews - Out of Place by Edward W. Said

UK Kirkus Review » Said's poignant memoir tells a story of displacement. Born in Jerusalem he spent much of his childhood in Cairo and Lebanon; a Christian Arab; a Palestinian with a US passport; a man with an English name 'yoked' to an Arabic surname; a man unsure of whether English or Arabic was his native tongue. Said records a lost or forgotten world, that of his early life, when his sense of being an outsider began with his first recalled thoughts; reflecting on fleeting past times against the background of the tumultuous years in the Middle East. It is an emotional account, full of vivid character portraits and events, begun following his diagnosis with leukemia, and covering mainly the period from his birth to 1962, when he received his doctorate. Readers familiar with Said's post-colonial writings, such as Orientalism and Culture and Imperialism, will understand to some extent his extraordinary thinking and academic achievements; this book will add an extra dimension to the man himself, bringing his background into focus in a manner hitherto unimagined. Highly recommended. (Kirkus UK)

US Kirkus Review » Said's compassionate and lyrical memoir explores his feelings of displacement in both his cultural setting and his family, revealing the roots of his intellectual, political, and personal unfolding. A distinguished cultural critic (The Politics of Dispossession, 1994, etc.), Said has gained a reputation as a bold intellectual and a noted spokesperson for the Palestinian cause. Faced with a diagnosis of leukemia in 1991, Said decided to recapture the world of his early childhood in Palestine, Egypt, and Lebanon, followed by what turned out to be a permanent move to the US. The result is a "record of an essentially lost or forgotten world." This is a bittersweet memoir of a boyhood in a sleepy summer town in Lebanon, of the cosmopolitan, colonial world of Cairo in the '40s and '50s, and of the dramatic changes in Palestine before Israel gained statehood. It's also the story of Said's early sense of alienation, the distinct (and eventually cherished) feeling of being an outsider. A Christian Palestinian in Cairo with a proper British name and a father with American citizenship, the young Said felt out of place early on. Said is an insightful and close observer of the details of daily life that create an entire mood in a people or family. The subject of his own family - a pampered and eerily sheltered group - is equally central to Said's critical yet tender account of his growth from the confused and insecure "Edward" (a creation of his parents) into an emotionally and intellectually mature man. Said devotes enormous lyrical and emotional energy to presenting his parents' role in his life, describing in heart-wrenching detail the domineering father and the influential, manipulative mother who watched his every move. Both culturally and emotionally, maturity for Said could only come from a separation from his early life. A beautiful and moving account that stands on its own as a classic in the art of memoir and as a key to understanding the genesis of Said's intellectual work. (Kirkus Reviews)


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