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With Culture and Imperialism, Said offers a powerful investigation of the relationship between culture and the imperialism of the West. Probing masterpieces of the Western tradition--including Austen's Mansfield Park, Conrad's Heart of Darkness, Verdi's Aida, and Camus's The Stranger--Said illuminates how the justification for empire-building in the 19th and early 20th centuries was inescapably embedded in the cultural imagination of the West. The result was a way of thinking that affirmed not merely the Europeans' right but also their obligation to rule--and touched nearly every facet of life in both the colonies and the imperial capitals.
Said reveals as well how writers such as W. B. Yeats, Salman Rushdie, Aime Cesair, and Chinua Achebe have challenged this imperial vision to reclaim for their peoples the right of self-determination in history and literature. Imperialist assumptions, Said argues, continue to influence our politics and our arts--from the media s coverage of the Gulf War to debates about what literatures are worth teaching in our schools. Finally, Said argues for an awareness that all cultures are interdependent and that the true human community is global.
"Grandly conceived...urgently written and urgently needed. . . . No one studying the relations between the metropolitan West and the decolonizing world can ignore Mr. Said's work." —The New York Times Book Review
"In Culture and Imperialism, Edward Said's immense erudition and interpretive audacity are brought to bear on a variety of literatures, reanimating the terms of his title and discovering, in the process, how some of the most revered cultural productions call upon the same energies that go into the building of empires. . . . [Culture and Imperialism] will likely become a classic of contemporary criticism." —Richard Poirier
"With compassion and great learning, Edward Said's inquiry into the 'cultural topography' of imperialism provides new insights into central and enduring features of world society, and helps us to understand who we are and what we must do if we aspire to be moral agents, not servants of power." —Noam Chomsky