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The Cambridge Introduction to Edward Said


  • Page extent: 170 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.4 kg

Library of Congress

  • Dewey number: 801/.95092
  • Dewey version: 22
  • LC Classification: PN75.S25 M33 2010
  • LC Subject headings:
    • Said, Edward W

Library of Congress Record

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 (ISBN-13: 9780521864534)

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The Cambridge Introduction to Edward Said
Cambridge University Press
9780521864534 - The Cambridge Introduction to Edward Said - By Conor McCarthy

The Cambridge Introduction to Edward Said

One of the most famous literary critics of the twentieth century, Edward Said has been hugely influential far beyond academia. As a prominent advocate for the Palestinian cause and a noted music critic, Said redefined the role of the public intellectual. In his books, as scholarly as they are readable, he challenged conventional critical demarcations between disciplines. His major opus, Orientalism, is a key text in postcolonial studies that continues to influence as well as challenge scholars in the field. Conor McCarthy introduces the reader to Said's major works and examines how his work and life were intertwined. He explains recurring themes in Said's writings on literature and empire, on intellectuals and literary theory, on music and on the Israel/Palestine conflict. This concise, informative, and clearly written introduction for students beginning to study Said is ideally set up to explain the complexities of his work to new audiences.

Conor McCarthy is Lecturer in English at the National University of Ireland, Maynooth.

The Cambridge Introduction to Edward Said

Conor McCarthy

National University of Ireland, Maynooth

Cambridge, New York, Melbourne, Madrid, Cape Town, Singapore, São Paulo, Delhi, Dubai, Tokyo

Cambridge University Press
The Edinburgh Building, Cambridge CB2 8RU, UK

Published in the United States of America by Cambridge University Press, New York
Information on this title:

© Conor McCarthy 2010

This publication is in copyright. Subject to statutory exception and to the provisions of relevant collective licensing agreements, no reproduction of any part may take place without the written permission of Cambridge University Press.

First published 2010

Printed in the United Kingdom at the University Press, Cambridge

A catalogue record for this publication is available from the British Library

Library of Congress Cataloguing in Publication data

McCarthy, Conor.
The Cambridge introduction to Edward Said / Conor McCarthy.
p. cm.
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN 978-0-521-86453-4 (hardback)
1. Said, Edward W. I. Title.
PN75.S25M33 2010
801′.95092 – dc22 2010015481

ISBN 978-0-521-86453-4 Hardback
ISBN 978-0-521-68305-0 Paperback

Cambridge University Press has no responsibility for the persistence or accuracy of URLs for external or third-party internet websites referred to in this publication, and does not guarantee that any content on such websites is, or will remain, accurate or appropriate.

For Alice, Anna, Poppy, and William, and in memory of Rachel Corrie.


Chapter 1     Introduction, life, work
Beginning with Edward Said: history, biography, criticism
Chapter 2     Influences
Chapter 3     Works
Beginnings: Intention and Method (1975)
Orientalism (1978)
The Question of Palestine (1979)
The World, the Text, and the Critic (1983)
Culture and Imperialism (1993)
Chapter 4     Reception
Guide to further reading


This book would not have been written without the support of many people. Firstly, my mother, though she is not here to read and question this book, always supported my projects and my interest in Edward Said.

My encounter with Edward Said began when Ellen Goodell gave me my first copy of Orientalism. I initially read Said with Seamus Deane, Thomas Docherty, and, in particular, Declan Kiberd, and for their guidance and encouragement I am very grateful. More recently I have learned much from conversations with Bashir Abu-Manneh, Joe Cleary, and David Lloyd.

I was fortunate enough to meet Edward Said on several occasions, and his brilliance, warmth, and openness were always compelling. Jean and Simone Mohr and Mariam Said have been very kind in facilitating the use of the cover photograph for this book.

I am grateful to Finbar Cullen at the Ireland Institute, to Ronit Lentin at Trinity College Dublin, and to my colleagues Joe Cleary and Colin Graham for opportunities to write and speak about Said. The library staff at the Mater Dei Institute of Education were very helpful to me. A most enjoyable residency at the Heinrich Boll Cottage, Achill, Co. Mayo, in July 2006 helped me get this work under way. Ruti Levi of Ha'aretz, and Nick Richardson of the London Review of Books assisted me with stray references.

It gives me particular pleasure to record that this work has been completed in the friendly and stimulating ambience of the Department of English at the National University of Ireland at Maynooth: my gratitude for their support and faith goes to Professor Christopher Morash and my colleagues in the Department, and also to Emeritus Professor Brian Cosgrove.

I owe a longtime debt to Norman Vance, for his erudition and example, and for his indefatigable support and kindness over many years.

It is to Ray Ryan that I owe the opportunity to write this book, and I am deeply grateful to him for that chance, and for his encouragement, cajoling, and endless patience during the process. Maartje Scheltens, Thomas O’Reilly, Caroline Howlett and Christina Sarigiannidou have been very tolerant and helpful in the production process.

My comrades Raymond Deane, Sally Eberhardt, Dara Fox, Andrew Kincaid, Chris Lee, Graham MacPhee, Mark Quigley, and Zohar Tirosh have provided me with an intellectual context of conversation and challenge. Luke Gibbons, Kevin Whelan, and the late Siobhan Kilfeather have all been generous to me over the years.

Thanks of a very special kind are due to Joanne Fox, for everything.

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