By Rasheed El-Enany
This ebook explores Arab responses to Western tradition and values as expressed often via works of fiction written through Arab authors through the 19th and 20th centuries. It offers welcome new insights into the perennial East-West debate, and is especially suitable to the present dialogue on Islam and the West.
Arab Representations of the Occident will be obvious because the opposite examine of Edward Said's well-known Orientalism. If Orientalism, in line with acknowledged, supplied the conceptual framework, the highbrow justification for the appropriation of the Orient via colonialism, "Occidentalism" - if one may perhaps use this label to point Arab conceptualizations of the West - tells a distinct tale. it's a tale, no longer in regards to the appropriation of the land of the West, yet its very soul. And if Orientalism used to be in regards to the denigration, and the subjugation of the Oriental different, a lot of Occidentalism has been concerning the idealization of the Western different, the need to develop into the opposite, or at the very least to turn into just like the different.
Alongside elevating hugely topical questions on stereotypical principles approximately Arabs and Muslims often, this e-book - the 1st ebook at the topic in English - explores representations of the West through the key Arab intellectuals over a two-century interval, correct as much as the current day.
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Extra resources for Arab Representations of the Occident: East-West Encounters in Arabic Fiction
But understandably from the viewpoint of a nationalist whose country had relatively recently at the time fallen under British occupation, Europeans were reviled for using their superiority for less than moral ends: ‘They use their knowledge and intellect to occupy countries and appropriate lands, to fight people out of the resources of their livelihoods . . ’127 Eventually, the resurrected Pasha, so baffled by the manifestations of Western civilisation he witnesses in distorted fashion in Egypt, he expresses a wish to experience it at first hand in its own land, which leads in the structure of the book to the aforementioned ‘al-rihla al-thaniya’ or the Second Journey, the first journey presumably being the Pasha’s tour of modern Cairo following his return from death.
He explains to the Englishman that professions such as soldiery, engineering and medicine are ‘worldly trades’ unbecoming for a family thought to be of Prophetic descent. It falls to the Englishman to explain to cAlam al-Din that ‘virtue’ is not a prerogative of any one group or profession, but is rather based on a human being’s personal attainment; that a man ‘is not measured by his origin and lineage but by good reason and manners’. It is obvious here that cAli Mubarak is using the Englishman to make his own case, as it was he who abandoned the traditional occupation of village imam that his father wanted for him to adopt a secular career in the service of the state (pp.
With a detailed and explicit account of the practices and services of Parisian prostitutes and the sexual preferences of their customers. What calls for a pause for thought here is the total absence of any sense of moral condemnation in the narrative. Indeed, what is there is not even a neutral objective account of the observations of a traveller. Rather, it is presented with a sense of abandon, a delight in the joie de vivre, and, dare one suggest, an implied approval, and perhaps even an implied criticism of the writer’s own culture, with its austerity and inhibitions.