By Rasheed El-Enany
This booklet explores Arab responses to Western tradition and values as expressed usually via works of fiction written through Arab authors through the 19th and 20th centuries. It presents welcome new insights into the perennial East-West debate, and is especially appropriate to the present dialogue on Islam and the West.
Arab Representations of the Occident can be visible because the opposite learn of Edward Said's well-known Orientalism. If Orientalism, in accordance with stated, supplied the conceptual framework, the highbrow justification for the appropriation of the Orient via colonialism, "Occidentalism" - if one may possibly use this label to point Arab conceptualizations of the West - tells a special tale. it's a tale, now not concerning 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 in regards to the idealization of the Western different, the need to develop into the opposite, or at the very least to develop into just like the different.
Alongside elevating hugely topical questions about stereotypical principles approximately Arabs and Muslims regularly, this e-book - the 1st booklet at the topic in English - explores representations of the West via the main Arab intellectuals over a two-century interval, correct as much as the current day.
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Extra info for Arab Representations of the Occident: East-West Encounters in Arabic Fiction
115 The dichotomy that bedevilled al-Tahtawi and Mubarak before him continues to rend apart al-Tunisi’s text if not its author, who throughout maintains a sense of detachment, a kind of clinical aloofness that finds no difficulty in reconciling opposites, in at once upholding tradition and subverting it by powerful, if unstated, arguments, almost unawares; perhaps unawares. * * * This then was the train of thought among Arab intellectuals during the nineteenth century. The Arab world was under despotic Ottoman rule, education was scholastic in nature, and at that a rare commodity.
They make those in the east hear the voices of those in the west, bring down to your vision the remotest planets, and magnify in your eye the tiniest of insects . . ’ 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 .
What is it that blinded them to the culture ‘adab’ of those living nations which cried out loud to them from the windows of bookshops . . 132 Even so, the Second Journey ends, and with it the whole book, on a significant note. It is as if conscious of his scathing anti-Western invective in much of the Colonial period: encounters under duress 37 book, al-Muwaylihi wanted to make sure he was not misunderstood by his readers. He wanted to end the book on a note which gave Western civilisation what is its due, and anything but turned modern Egyptians away from it.