[ilds] ILDS Digest, Vol 1, Issue 86_Expats and colonialism

slighcl slighcl at wfu.edu
Fri Apr 27 15:20:20 PDT 2007

On 4/27/2007 4:36 PM, Michael Haag wrote:

>I find tags like colonial and post-colonial literature unhelpful; they 
>stop people making important enquiries or thinking for themselves.  As 
>for Edward Said, his Orientalism is nonsense and has been properly 
>rubbished by people far better informed in the subject than himself, 
>for example the historian of the medieval Middle East and novelist 
>Robert Irwin in For Lust of Knowing: The Orientalists and Their Enemies 
>(London, 2006).  Irwin has some pretty strong words for Edward Said, 
>calling him something like dishonest and malign.
As something of an aesthete and a decadent--or even despite being so 
inclined--I would still be interested in hearing more about how LD fares 
in these debates, post-colonial or, if you will, post-post-colonial.  I 
believe that Said's remarks on LD come with his "Secular Criticism" 
(1983).  From what I recall, Said recalls LD's /Quartet /as required 
reading for neo-colonialists, standard issue on their desks.  Is that a 
right recollection? 

If so, it strangely chimes with that other opponent of LD's life and 
works, Terry Eagleton , who in his review of Ian MacNiven's biography of 
LD gave a similar anecdote about the place of the /Quartet /on the desks 
of literary /poseurs /in his university days.  (Others may be willing to 
give anecdotes about Eagleton himself, including his admission of 
neglecting to reread LD or read MacNiven's biography.  Anyone?)

All of this is to say that LD's life and works too often enjoys the 
unhappy situation of what LD would say was the clay pipe figure at the 
fair--line him up and knock him down--win the easy prize.


Charles L. Sligh
Department of English
Wake Forest University
slighcl at wfu.edu

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