These free-wheeling, often exhilarating dialogues—which grew out of the acclaimed Carnegie Hall Talks—are an exchange between two of the most prominent figures in contemporary culture: Daniel Barenboim, internationally renowned conductor and pianist, and Edward W. Said, eminent literary critic and impassioned commentator on the Middle East. Barenboim is an Argentinian-Israeli and Said a Palestinian-American; they are also close friends.
As they range across music, literature, and society, they open up many fields of inquiry: the importance of a sense of place; music as a defiance of silence; the legacies of artists from Mozart and Beethoven to Dickens and Adorno; Wagner’s anti-Semitism; and the need for “artistic solutions” to the predicament of the Middle East—something they both witnessed when they brought young Arab and Israeli musicians together. Erudite, intimate, thoughtful and spontaneous, Parallels and Paradoxes is a virtuosic collaboration.
About Edward W. Said
Edward W. Said was born in Jerusalem, raised in Jerusalem and Cairo, and educated in the United States, where he attended Princeton (B.A. 1957) and Harvard (M.A. 1960; Ph.D. 1964). In 1963, he began teaching at Columbia University, where he was University Professor of English and Comparative Literature.
He is the author of twenty-two books which have been translated into 35 languages, including Beginnings: Intention and Method (1975); Orientalism (1978); The Question of Palestine (1979); Covering Islam (1980); The World, the Text, and the Critic (1983); After the Last Sky (1986); Musical Elaborations (1991); Culture and Imperialism (1993); Representations of the Intellectual: The Reith Lectures (1994); Peace and Its Discontents: Essays on Palestine and the Middle East Peace Process (1996); Entre Guerre et Paix (1997); and Out of Place: A Memoir (1999). In addition, he edited Henry James’s Complete Stories 1884-1891 (1999) for the Library of America. Besides his academic work, he wrote a twice-monthly column for Al-Hayat and Al-Ahram; was a regular contributor to newspapers in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East; and was the music critic for The Nation.
He lectured at universities in North America, Europe, Africa and Asia; was a visiting professor at Harvard, Yale, John Hopkins, and Toronto; and delivered the inaugural set of Empson Lectures at Cambridge University, as well as a series of lectures at the Collège de France at the invitation of Professor Pierre Bourdieu. A member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Royal Society of Literature, and the American Philosophical Society, he was a member of the PEN Executive Board until 1998, and President of the Modern Language Association for 1999. He was awarded numerous prizes and honors, including 20 honorary doctorates from the University of Chicago, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Haverford College, Bir Zeit University, the University of Michigan, the University of Edinburgh, the University of Warwick, the University of Exeter, the National University of Ireland, University of Paris 7—Denis Diderot, Institute of Social Science (the Hague), and several others. In 1998, he received the Sultan Owais Prize for general cultural achievement, and in 1999, he became an Honorary Fellow of the Middle Eastern Studies Association and was awarded the first Spinoza Prize given in the Netherlands.
As a musician, he has collaborated with Daniel Barenboim and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in a new production of Beethoven’s Fidelio for which he wrote a new English text to replace the spoken dialogue; additionally, he conducted a workshop with Mr. Barenboim and Yo-Yo Ma for young Arab and Israeli musicians in Weimar, Germany.
Professor Said received several awards for his memoir, Out of Place, including the 1999 New Yorker Book Award for Non-Fiction; the Year 2000 Anisfield-Wolf Book Award for Non-Fiction; the Morton Dauwen Zabel Award in Literature conferred by the American Academy of Arts and Letters; the 2001 Lannan Literary Award for Lifetime Achievement, and the 2002 Prince of Asturias Award for Concord. His most recent publications include The End of the Peace Process: Oslo and After (Vintage, 2000), Reflections on Exile and Other Essays (Harvard University Press, 2001), Power, Politics and Culture (Pantheon, 2001) and Parallels and Paradoxes: Explorations in Music and Society (Pantheon, 2002). His Freud and the Non-European was published by Verso in April (2003).
“Crammed with oversized ideas. . . . Over and over, they find the points where music touches other aspects of being alive: politics, literature, home, war.” --Newsday
“Fascinating. . . . These conversations, filled with a passionate commitment to the life of the mind and the complexities of the arts, have an intoxicating richness.”–San Jose Mercury News
“[A] genuine give-and-take between keen minds and open hearts. . . . The fluidity of their relationship, like musicians in an orchestra, is a compelling model for a world often splintered by dogma, ideology and hermetically sealed minds.” –Los Angeles Times