[ilds] Remembering Lawrence Durrell, Predictor of our Postmodern World_By Peter Pomerantsev 6/25/2012

James Gifford james.d.gifford at gmail.com
Sun Dec 6 09:11:34 PST 2015


I'd go along with that, Bruce.  It does make Durrell's stance in /Pied 
Piper/ remarkable.  However, I would suggest that despite the polemical 
nature of Said's /Orientalism/, the "Oxbridge" recruiting system is very 
much a part of that book's concerns.  He's looking to Orientalism not 
just as a codeword for racism and exploitation but also very much as a 
scholarly discipline understood through a foucauldian disciplining of 
knowledge.

Increasingly, I tend to read /Orientalism/ as a book about the modern 
university...  I think I'm outside the pack on that one, admittedly.

Best,
James

On 2015-12-06 9:03 AM, Bruce Redwine wrote:
> It’s probably hard for us in the 21st century to appreciate, but the
> Brits in India—the “Anglo-Indians” or the “Anglo-Irish” (if
> correct)—were often big racists.  The historian Niall Ferguson (a Scot
> educated at Oxford [DPhil]) has written about this in /Empire/ (2002).
>   He describes how the Brits in the 19th century and early 20th, as a
> rule, believed in the superiority of the Anglo-Saxon race and its
> “God-given right” to rule the world under the auspices of the “British
> Empire.”  Ferguson, however, sharply distinguishes between the British
> Civil Service in India (relatively few in number, perhaps a thousand)
> and the British missionary and mercantile class (the great majority of
> the colonials).  The former (usually recruited from Oxbridge) he admires
> for its rigorous requirements of service (e.g., a knowledge of Hindi was
> necessary) and its respect for Indian culture.  The latter he abhors for
> its attempts to convert, reform, and exploit “the heathen.”  Given this
> pervasive culture among the Anglo-Indians, it’s quite remarkable that
> Lawrence Durrell identified with and honored the land of his birth.  I
> would add that Edward W. Said does not make any such distinction in his
> /Orientalism/ (1978) and lumps Western attitudes under the latter class.
>
> Bruce


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