|Born||Edward Wadie Said
1 November 1935
Jerusalem, Mandatory Palestine
|Died||25 September 2003 (aged 67)
New York City, United States
|Notable ideas||Occidentalism, Orientalism, The Other|
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|List of Palestinians|
Edward Wadie Said (Arabic pronunciation: [wædiːʕ sæʕiːd]; Arabic: إدوارد وديع سعيد, Idwārd Wadīʿ Saʿīd; 1 November 1935 – 25 September 2003) was a professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University, a literary theorist, and a public intellectual who was a founding figure of the critical-theory field of Post-colonialism. Born a Palestinian Arab in the city of Jerusalem in Mandatory Palestine (1920–48), he was an American citizen through his father. Said was an advocate for the political and the human rights of the Palestinian people and has been described by the journalist Robert Fisk as their most powerful voice.
As a cultural critic, academic, and writer, Said is best known for the book Orientalism (1978), an analysis of the cultural representations that are the bases of Orientalism, a term he redefined to mean the Western study of Eastern cultures and, in general, the framework of how The West perceives and represents The East. He contended that Orientalist scholarship was, and remains, inextricably tied to the imperialist societies that produced it, which makes much of the work inherently political, servile to power, and therefore intellectually suspect. Orientalism is based upon Said's knowledge of colonial literature, literary theory, and post-structuralist theory. Orientalism, and his other thematically related works, proved influential in the fields of the humanities, especially in literary theory and in literary criticism. Orientalism proved especially influential upon the field of Middle Eastern studies, wherein it transformed the academic discourse of the field's practitioners, of how they examine, describe, and define the cultures of the Middle East. As a critic, he vigorously discussed and debated the cultural subjects comprised by Orientalism, especially as applied to and in the fields of history and area studies; nonetheless, some mainstream academics disagreed with Said's Orientalism thesis, most notably the Anglo-American Orientalist Bernard Lewis.
As a public intellectual, Said discussed contemporary politics and culture, literature and music in books, lectures, and articles. Drawing from his family experiences as Palestinian Christians in the Middle East at the time of the establishment of Israel in 1948, Said argued for the establishment of a Palestinian state, for equal political and human rights for the Palestinians in Israel—including the right of return—and for increased U.S. political pressure upon Israel to recognize, grant, and respect said rights. Moreover, he also criticized the political and cultural politics of the Arab and Muslim regimes who acted against the interests of their peoples. Intellectually active until the last months of his life, he died of leukemia in late 2003.
- 1 Biography
- 2 Criticism
- 3 Influence
- 4 Politics
- 5 Music
- 6 Awards
- 7 Death and legacy
- 8 Bibliography
- 9 See also
- 10 References
- 11 Further reading
- 12 External links
Edward Said was born on 1 November 1935, to Hilda Said and her husband, the businessman Wadie Said, in the city of Jerusalem in the British Mandate of Palestine (1920–48). Edward's father was a Palestinian man who soldiered in the U.S. Army component of the Allied Expeditionary Force (1917–19), commanded by General John J. Pershing, in World War I; Wadie Said and his family were granted U.S. citizenship due to his military service, and after acquiring citizenship Wadie Said moved to Cleveland before returning to Palestine in 1920. His mother Hilda, who was born in Nazareth, had a Palestinian father and a Lebanese mother. After the war, in 1919, Wadie Said moved to Cairo and established a stationery business with a cousin. Although his parents practiced the Jerusalemite variety of Greek Orthodox Christianity, Edward was agnostic. He had four younger sisters.
Said described his childhood as lived "between worlds", the worlds of Cairo and Jerusalem, until he was twelve. In 1947, he attended the Anglican St. George's School in Jerusalem, about which experience he said:
With an unexceptionally Arab family name like "Said", connected to an improbably British first name (my mother much admired Prince of Wales [Edward VIII] in 1935, the year of my birth), I was an uncomfortably anomalous student all through my early years: a Palestinian going to school in Egypt, with an English first name, an American passport, and no certain identity, at all. To make matters worse, Arabic, my native language, and English, my school language, were inextricably mixed: I have never known which was my first language, and have felt fully at home in neither, although I dream in both. Every time I speak an English sentence, I find myself echoing it in Arabic, and vice versa.
In the late 1940s, the latter school days of Said included attendance at the Egyptian branch of Victoria College (VC), where one classmate was Omar Sharif whom he remembered as a sadistic and physically abusive Head Boy; other classmates included King Hussein of Jordan, and Egyptian, Syrian, Jordanian, and Saudi Arabian boys whose academic careers progressed to their becoming ministers, prime ministers, and leading businessmen of and in their respective countries. In that colonial time, the VC school educated select Arab and Levantine lads to become the Anglicized ruling-class, who, in due course, were to rule their respective countries, upon British decolonization. Victoria College was the last school Edward Said attended before being sent to the U.S.:
The moment one became a student at VC, one was given the student handbook, a series of regulations governing every aspect of school life—the kind of uniform we were to wear, what equipment was needed for sports, the dates of school holidays, bus schedules, and so on. But the school's first rule, emblazoned on the opening page of the handbook, read: “English is the language of the school; students caught speaking any other language will be punished.” Yet, there were no native speakers of English among the students. Whereas the masters were all British, we were a motley crew of Arabs of various kinds, Armenians, Greeks, Italians, Jews, and Turks, each of whom had a native language that the school had explicitly outlawed. Yet all, or nearly all, of us spoke Arabic—many spoke Arabic and French—and so we were able to take refuge in a common language, in defiance of what we perceived as an unjust colonial stricture.
Said proved a troublesome student; he was expelled from Victoria College in 1951 and ended up in Northfield Mount Hermon School in Massachusetts, a socially élite, college-prep boarding-school where he endured a miserable year of feeling out of place. Nonetheless, he excelled academically and achieved the rank of either first (valedectorian) or second (salutatarian) in a class of one hundred sixty students. In retrospect, Said said that having been sent away to a place so far from the Middle East was a parental decision much influenced by "the prospects of deracinated people, like us, being so uncertain that it would be best to send me as far away as possible". He obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree from Princeton University (1957), and then a Master of Arts degree (1960) and a Doctor of Philosophy degree (1964), in English Literature, from Harvard University.
In 1963, Said joined Columbia University as a member of the faculties of the department of English and of the department of Comparative Literature, where he taught and worked until 2003 (he became professor there in 1991); in the course of that tenure, Barack Obama was one of his pupils at Columbia College. In 1974, he was Visiting Professor of Comparative Literature at Harvard College; in 1975–76 he was a Fellow of the Center for Advanced Study in Behavioral Science, at Stanford University; in 1977, he was the Parr Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University, and subsequently was the Old Dominion Foundation Professor in the Humanities; and, in 1979, he was Visiting Professor of Humanities at Johns Hopkins University. After receiving tenure at Columbia, Said would also go on to teach at Yale University.
Said served as president of the Modern Language Association; as editor of the Arab Studies Quarterly in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences; on the executive board of International PEN; in the American Academy of Arts and Letters; in the Royal Society of Literature; in the Council of Foreign Relations; and he was a member of the American Philosophical Society.
Claims of biographical dishonesty by Justus Weiner
Justus Reid Weiner, an American lawyer and resident scholar at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs think-tank, claimed that Said had been dishonest about his childhood biography. In the article "My Beautiful Old House and Other Fabrications by Edward Said", published in Commentary magazine in 1999, Weiner claimed Said lied when he said: "I was born in Jerusalem, and spent most of my formative years there; and, after 1948, when my entire family became refugees, in Egypt". Despite having acknowledged that Edward Said was born in Jerusalem (Palestine), Weiner reported that Edward Said's birth certificate lists a Cairo (Egypt) residential address for the Said family; that the boy Edward did not live his formative, boyhood years in Jerusalem with his family, but in Cairo; and that he had not been a full-time student at the St. George's School, in Jerusalem, because the school's register of students contained no record of his matriculation to the school.
Weiner's article came under criticism immediately (The Guardian referring to it as "fierce assault...in a small right-wing periodical"), and Said's account was defended by journalists and historians. In an article in CounterPunch, Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair reported that Weiner had deliberately falsified the biographic record in order to attack Said. In evidence, the reporters presented an interview of Haig Boyadjian, who said that he had explicitly told Weiner about having been a classmate of Edward Said at the St. George's School, in Jerusalem, a fact omitted from Weiner's biography of Said.
In The Nation, Christopher Hitchens described Weiner's article as a work of "extraordinary spite and mendacity" and reported that schoolmates and instructors confirmed that Edward Said had been a student at the St. George Academy. In The New York Review of Books, historian Amos Elon called Weiner's article a "diatribe", and accused him of waging a "personal smear campaign" against Edward Said, and that Weiner had failed to disprove that, in the winter of 1947–48, when the Arab League declared the 1948 Arab–Israeli War, the Said family moved from the Talbiya neighbourhood of Jerusalem and returned to Cairo: "[Said] and his family sought refuge from the war outside Palestine, as did hundreds of thousands of other Palestinians at the time. The fact remains, that shortly afterward, the family's property in Jerusalem was confiscated. Said and his family became political refugees as the result of the Israeli government's refusal to allow them to return to the country of their birth.
In retort, Justus Weiner accused Elon of intellectual dishonesty and accused Hitchens of having made himself "a poster boy for Palestine". To Hitchens's critique that he had not even interviewed Said, Weiner replied that three years of research had made it unnecessary to interview the man about his childhood in British Palestine, and said, in connection to Said's school days in the Middle East: "The evidence became so overwhelming. It was no longer an issue of discrepancies. It was a chasm. There was no point in calling him up and saying, 'You’re a liar, you're a fraud'".
Said himself, in a response published in Al-Ahram Weekly and CounterPunch, said that Weiner's article was the third such attack to be published in Commentary, and that the perspective of the authors only produced "calumny and falsehood" and that the article's credibility was "undercut by dozens of mistakes of fact".
Said's first book, Joseph Conrad and the Fiction of Autobiography (1966), expanded on his doctoral dissertation. In Edward Said: Criticism and Society (2010), Abdirahman Hussein said that the novella Heart of Darkness (1899), by Joseph Conrad, was the book that proved foundational to Said's entire career and project. Afterwards, Said redacted ideas gleaned from the works of the 17th-century philosopher Giambattista Vico, and other intellectuals, in the book Beginnings: Intention and Method (1974), about the theoretical bases of literary criticism. Said’s further bibliographic production featured books such as The World, the Text, and the Critic (1983), Nationalism, Colonialism, and Literature: Yeats and Decolonization (1988), Culture and Imperialism (1993), Representations of the Intellectual: The 1993 Reith Lectures (1994), Humanism and Democratic Criticism (2004), and On Late Style (2006).
Like his post-modern intellectual mentors, the post-structuralist philosophers Jacques Derrida and Michel Foucault, Said was fascinated by how the people of the Western world perceive the peoples of and the things from a different culture, and by the effects of society, politics, and power upon literature; thus is Edward W. Said a founding intellectual of post-colonial criticism. Although the critique of Orientalism is his especially important cultural contribution, it was the critical interpretations of the works of Joseph Conrad, Jane Austen, Rudyard Kipling, William Butler Yeats, and other writers, that were the influential scholarship that established his intellectual reputation.
Said is most famous for the description and analyses of Orientalism as the source of the inaccurate cultural representations that are the foundation of Western thought towards the Middle East, of how The West perceives and represents The East. The thesis of Orientalism is the existence of a "subtle and persistent Eurocentric prejudice against Arabo-Islamic peoples and their culture", which derives from Western culture's long tradition of false and romanticized images of Asia, in general, and the Middle East, in particular. That such perceptions, and the consequent cultural representations, have served, and continue to serve, as implicit justifications for the colonial and imperialist ambitions of the European powers and of the U.S. Likewise, Said also criticized and denounced the political and the cultural malpractices of the régimes of the ruling Arab élites who have internalized the false, romanticized representations of Arabic culture that were conceived and established by Anglo-American Orientalists:
So far as the United States seems to be concerned, it is only a slight overstatement to say that Moslems and Arabs are essentially seen as either oil suppliers or potential terrorists. Very little of the detail, the human density, the passion of Arab-Moslem life has entered the awareness of even those people whose profession it is to report the Arab world. What we have, instead, is a series of crude, essentialized caricatures of the Islamic world presented in such a way as to make that world vulnerable to military aggression.
In Orientalism, Said argued that much Western study of Islamic civilization was political intellectualism meant for European self-affirmation, rather than for objective intellectual enquiry and academic study of Eastern cultures. Hence, Orientalism functioned as a method of practical, cultural discrimination applied as a means of imperialist domination, producing the claim that the Western Orientalist knows more about the Orient than do the Orientals. Said argues that the history of European colonial rule, and of the consequent political domination of the civilizations of the East, distorts the writing of even the most knowledgeable, well-meaning, and culturally sympathetic Western Orientalists; thus was the term "Orientalism" rendered into a pejorative word:
I doubt if it is controversial, for example, to say that an Englishman in India, or Egypt, in the later nineteenth century, took an interest in those countries, which was never far from their status, in his mind, as British colonies. To say this may seem quite different from saying that all academic knowledge about India and Egypt is somehow tinged and impressed with, violated by, the gross political fact—and yet that is what I am saying in this study of Orientalism.
Orientalism concluded that Western writing about the Orient depicts it as an irrational, weak, and feminised Other, an existential condition contrasted with the rational, strong, and masculine West. This binary relation derives from the European psychological need to create a difference of cultural inequality between West and East; that cultural difference is attributed to immutable cultural "essences" inherent to Oriental peoples and things. Orientalism has exerted great intellectual influence upon the academic fields of literary theory and cultural studies, human geography and history, and Oriental studies.
Response to Orientalism
Orientalism (1978) provoked much theoretic criticism of the work and its thesis as well as personal controversy about Edward Said, the author and the man.
The criticism by Orientalists such as Albert Hourani, Robert Graham Irwin, Nikki Keddie, Bernard Lewis, and Kanan Makiya, addressed what the historian Nikki Keddie said were "some unfortunate consequences" of Orientalism upon the perception and the status of their scholarship. 
In Approaches to the History of the Middle East, the historian Keddie said that, as critical theory, Said's work on Orientalism had:
unfortunate consequences ... I think that there has been a tendency in the Middle East [studies] field to adopt the word "Orientalism" as a generalized swear-word, essentially referring to people who take the "wrong" position on the Arab–Israeli dispute, or to people who are judged "too conservative". It has nothing to do with whether they are good or not good in their disciplines. So, "Orientalism", for many people, is a word that substitutes for thought, and enables people to dismiss certain scholars and their works. I think that is too bad. It may not have been what Edward Said meant, at all, but the term has become a kind of slogan.
Moreover, the Anglo-American Orientalist Bernard Lewis was a nemesis especially at odds with the thesis of Orientalism, wherein Said identified Lewis as:
... a perfect exemplification [of an] Establishment Orientalist [whose work] purports to be objective, liberal scholarship, but is, in reality, very close to being propaganda against his subject material. For sheer heedless anti-intellectualism, unrestrained or unencumbered by the slightest trace of critical self-consciousness, no one, in my experience, has achieved the sublime confidence of Bernard Lewis, whose almost purely political exploits require more time to mention than they are worth. In a series of articles, and one particularly weak book—The Muslim Discovery of Europe (1982)—Lewis has been busy responding to my argument, insisting that the Western quest for knowledge about other societies is unique, that it is motivated by pure curiosity, and that, in contrast, Muslims neither were able nor interested in getting knowledge about Europe, as if knowledge about Europe were the only acceptable criterion for true knowledge.
Lewis's arguments are presented as emanating exclusively from the scholar's apolitical impartiality, whereas, at the same time, he has become an authority drawn on for anti-Islamic, anti-Arab, Zionist, and Cold War crusades, all of them underwritten by a zealotry, covered with a veneer of urbanity, that has very little in common with the "science" and learning Lewis purports to be upholding.
Lewis replied to Said's characterizations, of his (Lewis's) works as political propaganda, and of him (Lewis) as an anti-intellectual, with essays critical of Said the academic, and of his works; Lewis later was joined in his criticisms of Said by the academics Maxime Rodinson, Jacques Berque, Malcolm Kerr, Aijaz Ahmad, and William Montgomery Watt who said that Orientalism (1978) is a flawed account of Western scholarship about "The Orient".
Said felt the consequences of being a politically-militant, public intellectual in 1985: per Said, the Jewish Defense League compared Said to a Nazi because of his anti-Zionism; an arsonist set afire his office at Columbia University; he and his family were repeatedly targeted with death threats.
Edward Said was a charismatic public intellectual and something of an "intellectual superstar" in America. His field of inquiry included literary theory and comparative literature, history and political commentary, cultural criticism and music criticism, and other fields. Orientalism proved to be an intellectual document central to the field of post-colonial studies, its thesis being considered as historically factual, true, and accurate for the pertinent periods studied, and especially regarding the cultural representations of "Orientals" and "The Orient" presented in the mass communications media of the West. Nonetheless, Said's supporters acknowledged that concerning the German Orientalist scholarship, the scope of Orientalism is limited; yet, in the magazine article "Orientalism Reconsidered" (1985), Said said that no-one opponent provided a substantive rationale for claiming that the dearth of discussion about German Orientalism necessarily limits the scholarly value and practical application of the book's thesis. Moreover, in the Afterword to the 1995 edition of Orientalism, Said presented follow-up refutations of the criticisms that Bernard Lewis registered against the first edition (1978) of the book.
Moreover, his critics and supporters acknowledge the transformative influence of Orientalism upon scholarship in the humanities—the former say that is an intellectually limiting influence upon scholars, whilst the latter say that it is an intellectually liberating influence upon scholars. Post-colonial studies, of which Said was an intellectual founder, and a scholarly reference, is a fertile and thriving field of intellectual enquiry that helps explain the post-colonial world, its peoples, and their discontents. Hence the continued investigational validity and analytical efficacy of the critical propositions presented in Orientalism (1978), especially in the field of Middle Eastern studies.
The scholarship of Said remains critically pertinent to and intellectually relevant in the fields of literary criticism and cultural studies, notably upon scholars studying India, such as Gyan Prakash (“Writing Post-Orientalist Histories of the Third World: Perspectives from Indian Historiography”, 1990), Nicholas Dirks (Castes of Mind, 2001), and Ronald Inden (Imagining India, 1990); and upon literary theorists such as Homi K. Bhabha (Nation and Narration, 1990), Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak (In Other Worlds: Essays in Cultural Politics, 1987), and Hamid Dabashi (Iran: A People Interrupted, 2007).
Elswewhere, in and about Eastern Europe, Milica Bakić-Hayden developed the concept of Nesting Orientalisms (1992), based upon and derived from the ideas of the historian Larry Wolff (Inventing Eastern Europe: The Map of Civilization on the Mind of the Enlightenment, 1994) and upon the ideas that Said presented in Orientalism (1978). In turn, the Bulgarian historian Maria Todorova (Imagining the Balkans, 1997) presented her ethnologic concept of Nesting Balkanisms (Ethnologia Balkanica,1997), which is theoretically related to and derived from Milica Bakić-Hayden's concept of Nesting Orientalisms.
Said became politically active in 1967, to counter the perceived stereotyped misrepresentations with which the U.S. news media explained the Arab–Israeli wars; reportage which he felt was divorced from the historical realities of the Middle East, in general, and Palestine and Israel, in particular. His "The Arab Portrayed" (1968) was an essay wherein he described the images of the Arab, as presented in journalism and some types of scholarship, which he feels are meant to evade the specific discussion of the historical and cultural realities of the peoples who are the Middle East. Since then, he participated in political and diplomatic efforts for the establishment of a Palestinian state.
From 1977 until 1991, Said was an independent member of the Palestinian National Council (PNC). In 1988, he was a proponent of the two-state solution to the Israeli–Palestinian conflict (1948), and voted for the establishment of the State of Palestine at a meeting of the Palestinian National Council meeting in Algiers. In 1993, Said quit his membership of the PNC to protest the politics that lead to the signing of the Oslo Accords, because he thought the accord terms unacceptable, and because they had been rejected by the Madrid Conference of 1991. Especially troublesome to Said was his belief that Yasir Arafat had betrayed the right of return of the Palestinian refugees to return to their houses and properties in the Green Line territories of pre-1967 Israel; and that Arafat ignored the growing political threat of the Israeli settlements in the occupied territories established since the conquest of Palestine in 1967. By 1995, in response to Said's political criticisms, the Palestinian Authority banned the sale of Said's books; however, relations improved when Said publicly praised Yasir Arafat for rejecting Prime Minister Ehud Barak's offers at the Middle East Peace Summit at Camp David (2000) in the U.S.
In the essay "Zionism from the Standpoint of its Victims" (1979), Edward Said argued in favour of the political legitimacy and philosophical authenticity of the Zionist claims and right to a Jewish homeland; and for the right of national self-determination of the Palestinian people. Said's books on the matters of Israel and Palestine include The Question of Palestine (1979), The Politics of Dispossession (1994), and The End of the Peace Process (2000). In 1998, for the BBC, Said made In Search of Palestine (1998), a documentary film about Palestine past and Palestine present. With his son, Said returned to Palestine to confront "Israeli injustice". Despite the social and cultural prestige that BBC cinema products usually enjoyed, In Search of Palestine was not broadcast by the television companies of the U.S.
In 2003, Haidar Abdel-Shafi, Ibrahim Dakak, Mustafa Barghouti, and Edward Said established the third-party political organization Al-Mubadara (the Palestinian National Initiative), headed by Barghouti, to be a reformist and democratic alternative to the usual two-party politics of Palestine, as an alternative to the respectively extremist politics of the social-democratic Fatah and the Islamist Hamas.
On 3 July 2000, while travelling as a tourist in the Middle East with his son, Said was photographed throwing a stone across the Blue Line Lebanese–Israeli border. In the U.S., that image elicited much conservative political criticism that Said's action demonstrated an inherent, personal sympathy with terrorism, thus the Commentary magazine journalist Edward Alexander labelled Said as the "Professor of Terror". According to Said, there was not much to the incident: "Mr. Said said he was having a stone-throwing contest with his son and called it a 'symbolic gesture of joy' at the end of Israel's occupation of Lebanon...It was a pebble; there was nobody there. The guardhouse was at least half a mile away. However, the As-Safir newspaper reported that a local Lebanese resident said that Said was less than ten metres (ca. 30 ft.) from the IDF soldiers manning the two-storey guardhouse when he aimed and threw the stone over the border fence; the stone struck the barbed wire atop the border fence. Despite the political fracas among conservative Columbia University students and the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith International (Sons of the Covenant), the University Provost defended Said's action as an academic's freedom of expression: "To my knowledge, the stone was directed at no-one; no law was broken; no indictment was made; no criminal or civil action has been taken against Professor Said".
Nevertheless, Said endured repercussions, such as the cancellation of an invitation to give a lecture to the Freud Society, in Austria, in February 2001. The President of the Freud Society justified withdrawing the invitation from Said by explaining that “the political situation in the Middle East, and its consequences” had rendered an accusation of anti-Semitism a very serious matter, and that any such accusation "has become more dangerous" in the politics of Austria; the Freud Society thus cancelled their invitation to Said in order to "to avoid an internal clash" of opinions, about him, that might ideologically divide the Freud Society.
Criticism of U.S. foreign politics
In the revised edition of Covering Islam: How the Media and the Experts Determine How We See the Rest of the World (1997), Said criticized the Orientalist bias of the Western news media's reportage about the Middle East and Islam, especially the tendency towards editorializing "speculations about the latest conspiracy to blow up buildings, sabotage commercial airliners, and poison water supplies". He referred to the military involvement of the U.S. in the Kosovo War (1998–99) as an imperialist action and described the 1998 Iraq Liberation Act as the political license that predisposed the U.S. to invade Iraq in 2003. He claimed that the continual support of Israel by successive U.S. presidential governments, as actions meant to perpetuate regional political instability in the Middle East. He criticized the 2003 invasion of Iraq in mid-2003, and, in the Egyptian Al-Ahram Weekly newspaper, said that the U.S. war against Iraq was a politically ill-conceived military enterprise:
My strong opinion, though I don’t have any proof, in the classical sense of the word, is that they want to change the entire Middle East, and the Arab world, perhaps terminate some countries, destroy the so-called terrorist groups they dislike, and install régimes friendly to the United States. I think this is a dream that has very little basis in reality. The knowledge they have of the Middle East, to judge from the people who advise them, is, to say the least, out of date and widely speculative.
In January 2006, anthropologist David Price obtained 147 pages of the 283-page political dossier that the FBI had compiled on Edward Said, which indicated that he had been spied upon since 1971, four years since he had become a public intellectual active in the politics to the U.S.
Said was an accomplished pianist. He worked as the music critic for The Nation magazine, and wrote four books about music: Musical Elaborations (1991), Parallels and Paradoxes: Explorations in Music and Society (2002, with Daniel Barenboim), On Late Style: Music and Literature Against the Grain (2006), and Music at the Limits (2007). In the latter book he spoke of finding musical reflections of his literary and historical ideas in bold compositions and strong performances.
In 1999, Said and Daniel Barenboim founded the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, which is composed of young Israeli, Palestinian, and Arab musicians. They also established The Barenboim–Said Foundation in Seville, to develop education-through-music projects. Besides managing the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, the Barenboim–Said Foundation assists with the administration of the Academy of Orchestral Studies, the Musical Education in Palestine Project, and the Early Childhood Musical Education Project, in Seville. Composer Mohammed Fairouz acknowledged the influence of Edward Said upon his works: compositionally, the First Symphony thematically alludes to the essay "Homage to a Belly-Dancer" (1990); and a piano sonata titled Reflections on Exile(1984), which thematically refers to the emotions inherent to the eponymous subject.
Besides honors, memberships, and postings to prestigious organizations world-wide, Edward Said was awarded some twenty honorary university degrees in the course of his professional life as an academic, critic, and Man of Letters. Among the honors bestowed to him was the Bowdoin Prize by Harvard University. He twice received the Lionel Trilling Book Award; the first occasion was the inaugural bestowing of said literary award in 1976, for Beginnings: Intention and Method (1974). He also received the Wellek Prize of the American Comparative Literature Association, and was awarded the inaugural Spinoza Lens Prize. In 2001, Said was awarded the Lannan Literary Award for Lifetime Achievement. In 2002, he received the Prince of Asturias Award for Concord, and was the first U.S. citizen to receive the Sultan Owais Prize. The autobiography Out of Place (1999) was bestowed three awards, the 1999 New Yorker Book Award for Non-Fiction; the 2000 Anisfield-Wolf Book Award for Non-Fiction; and the Morton Dauwen Zabel Award in Literature.
Death and legacy
On 25 September 2003, after enduring a twelve-year sickness with chronic lymphocytic leukæmia, Said died aged 67 in New York City. He was survived by his wife, Mariam, his son, Wadie, and his daughter, Najla, an actress, playwright, and a founder of Nibras, the Arab-American theatre troupe.
Eulogies included Alexander Cockburn, "A Mighty and Passionate Heart"; Seamus Deane, "A Late Style of Humanism"; Christopher Hitchens, "A Valediction for Edward Said"; Tony Judt, "The Rootless Cosmopolitan";, Michael Wood, "On Edward Said"; and Tariq Ali, "Remembering Edward Said (1935–2003)". In November 2004, in Palestine, Birzeit University renamed their music school the Edward Said National Conservatory of Music.
Verso Books published Waiting for the Barbarians: A Tribute to Edward W. Said (2008), edited by Müge Gürsoy Sökmen and Bașak Ertür; the essayists include Akeel Bilgrami, Rashid Khalidi, and Elias Khoury, . Routledge published Edward Said: The Charisma of Criticism (2010), by Harold Aram Veeser, a critical biography. The University of California Press published Edward Said: A Legacy of Emancipation and Representations (2010), edited by Adel Iskandar and Hakem Rustom, and featuring contributions about Said's intellectual legacy by Joseph Massad, Ilan Pappe, Ella Shohat, Ghada Karmi, Noam Chomsky, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, and Daniel Barenboim, among others.
Academic establishments such as Columbia University, the University of Warwick, Princeton University, the University of Adelaide, the American University of Cairo, and the Palestine Center have instituted annual series of lectures about the subjects, topics, and themes that Edward Said discussed in his works; notable among the speakers have been Daniel Barenboim, Noam Chomsky, Robert Fisk, and Cornel West.
Looking For Palestine: Growing Up Confused In An Arab-American Family, Najla Said, Riverhead Books, 2013.
- Blaming the Victims: Spurious Scholarship and the Palestinian Question (1988)
- List of Columbia University people
- Palestinian Christians
- Projects working for peace among Arabs and Israelis
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