Oriental Prospects: Western Literature and the Lure of the East
C. C. Barfoot, Theo d'. Haen
Rodopi, 1998 - Literary Criticism - 283 pages
A great deal of stimulating and valuable discussion (as well as some indignation and hot air) has been stimulated by Edward Said, whose provocative study of Orientalism: Western Conceptions of the Orient appeared twenty years ago. This present book will, we believe, be recognized as a worthy addition to the many attempts that have since been made to sift the intrinsic and ingrained attitudes of West to East. The fifteen articles in Oriental Prospects: Western Literature and the Lure of the East cover literature from the Renaissance through the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries to the modern period, some in pragmatic accounts of responses to and uses of experiences of the Orient and its cultural attitudes and artefacts, others contending more theoretically with issues that Edward Said has raised. Despite all the misunderstanding, prejudice and propaganda in the scholarly and literary depiction of the Orient still today as in the past, what emerges from this wide-range of articles is that no species of literary text or academic study can appear without risking the accusation of escapist exoticism or cultural and economic exploitation; and thus regrettably masking the essential and vital significance of the political and the real and imaginative trading between East and West.
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