On avisit to Beirut dJ-i'ting the 'terrible civil War of 19'75-1976 a. French journalistwrete regreUuUy of tbe gutted downtovin ar'e~ tha-t"it had once seemed to belongto ... the Otlent 6fChilteaU,· briand and Nerval,"! He. was right' about the place, of course, especially so far as 'a European was concerned. The Orient was

.... .....------....--~.- ..

almost a European invention, and had been sineeantiquitya place

6trq_manpe, 'exotic'De:iug~,-lwunting memories and landscapes, rernarkable.experiences. Now it was disappearing: in a sense it had hap'pe:l,led,~ its gme' W80ii over. 'Perhaps it seemed irrelevant that Orientals ,tbemselY~s h.fl-dSoilletbin,g at stake in !he p:roc~s, that ~.ven .in the time-of Chateaubriarrd and Nerval' Orientalshad lived there, and .that' JIOW it was they who were suffering; the ljiaip thing' for thee European visitor was a EuropeaO' repret;enlalion of the Orient and its contemporary fate, both of which bad a pr:i~ileged communal signlficancefo» the journalist and his Frencbreaders.

Americans will-not feel quite. 'the -same about. the Orient,wIDth for them is.much more likely 'to he associated very differently with the Far East (China and Japan, mainly). Unlike., the Americans, the' French and the British-less sothe Germans, R ussia ns , Spanish; Portuguese, Italians, and Swiss=-have had a Io.n gtraditiorr of what I shall be calling Orientalism" a: waY~f_o_rglgg~,'tq~,te:nns_.with the

I Orient that is based Oll~ ti)e~Qn:e::nt's~spe(_;i~ pllJ..c:ein .Eur9pe~n '. ~~!tem:~.X;perie:nce. Ih~ ?ri~nt .isl.1ot Q~Y_ 'adjacent .to EUrope.> it:

IS also the place of Eu rope_ls greatestand richest and oldest colonies, !

I. t}J,e soute. e'Qf:ils civj~~,a:tions and.:1<mguag.~s, i~s~u.ltiJrhl centestan], j: ~and one of 'Itsc:ieepest andmost recumng Images of' the Other, .

In additiOTI', the Orienthas helped 10 define Europe (or the W¢'Stf" .




as ltscqptr'! image, idea, personalltj', experience. Yet none of this Orientis merely imagiMtive. The- Orient is an integral. part gf

c European, maJei'iq,l'· civilization and culture. o den ta,Hsmexpressell and.represents thatpart -cultllrallyand even ideologlcallyaaa mcde of discourse 'v,Hb 'sop:pottitl:g' in~t,i:tutibns, ·vqcabtl1'firy;scholarsliip" Ima geryj dO'cfrines, ev~ncolimia~ bute_,!"ctades.:~rnde9l6[iiaJ styles, lncontr..ast, HIe American uJlderstandingof the Otjent will seem considerably less dense, ~ although ourreecnt J apanese, Korean, .aad Indochinese adventuresought now to be 'creating -a more sebet, mbre,,-realiStic"Ofieota1~'awa[eness. Moreover, the va~tly ex_pnilded American political and economic role in the Near' East (tlk Mkld!e East) makes-great Claims on ourunderstanding of 'that .Orient.

It will be 'clear 1'0 the reader (and will h~c6me clearer 'still

. throughout the many pages :ihat follow) tha t by Orlenratisrn I' mean several things, .allof them, in my opinion, interdependent The most readilyaccepted designation for Orientalism is an academic one, and Indeed the label. stillserves in a numbcrofecademlc institutjoqs. Anyone who teaches',. wri'_t~ ·~_.ppu~,or researches the Qtl~t-<¢d this l:Ippli'es,whether the.person is 'an'anthl'QPologi:st, sociologist) historian, or phllologist___:e.ith~r In j ts specific or lts geneJ;:a'lasp¢cts,i~~~lis~, _aiid what he· at she does is Orientaus-m .. Compared with o rien. fal studies or area stildi~s, it is true that theterm Or:ieniillism .is less-preferred by specialists ibd;lY; both because it is fob vague and. general arid because it conriotes the high-handed execu'tiveaHitude 6f nirieieenrh-cenfirry and earlytwentieth-century European colonialism, Nevertheless books, are written and eongresses held with "the Orient" as their main focus, . with the Orienralisr in his new {if old !guise as their main authority,

j"Th.e po~nt is that eveu,if it doesnot ~1.l.rvive. ~s it once did, Orten-

f t~.l.lS.· ,m ,lIves 0 .. _n acade.~lca.llY through ItS doctrinesand thesesabout the.Orient and the Oniental,

'tl' Related to this academic traditi:e:n. whose.Jortunes, transmigration~, specialita,tioDf';, and transmissicnsar» .ln Hart I.he subject of

tW.s study., is a more ;general meaning for Orientalism. Oi'~entalis'm 1-- isa' style: ,oUb-9.~g.~t' ha:sed upon ,s!, o.!!_ tolog'!eal and episte~~~$-,eal ! di$inCtiilll made betwe-en"tlie Orient" and (most of the time) .:!:he \. ~ent"_'!hus,~. ve-ry wr~ters;~moll~_,,:,frOin~e poets, novelists, phdos-ophets"pOlitlc<d theorists, economists, .and nnperialadministrators, have ;:I£c~p.ted the _ basic. d i'stinctjon between East and West as the starting. Boillt for elaborate J~\ epics, novels, social description~and pollticaliaceounrs conceroillg the-

.. . -- ~ --~ ~-~---'I.



Orient, 'its people; cust0!!ls, ."min9;'Y.dWilly.annso on. This 'Orientalism can, accommodate Aeschylus, say,and V"ic;tQr Hu'g~, Dante and Kat! Marx, A little later in (his introduction I shall deal with the metbcdologieal .problems oneencounters in so' btoadlycOJ;lstrueda "jield"as this ..

The -iruercba:ng-e ,betwe(;lil the 'aeade.mic \tlid the more or leas jrl]agj-pative meanings of Orientalisn» isa comJatit one, and since the 'Iate eigh;teenth ce.ntliry there Jln-s-bee.o a considerable, quite disciplmed____:perhiiHs:e:ve'l1 regulated=-traffiebetween the tWu. Here 1 tome to the fhird meaning of Odentalism" which 'is something more -hilltorJG?l\y and W:ateriaHy d¢UileCl. tlian either of the other tWo. Taking ,the late e.igbt,eMtir century as a. very roughly defined statti:r)g point Orlentalism can be discussed and' a'naIyzedas, the corporate with the Orient-deaiing with it

I ?y m~ing ~ta~e.D1ei:tls ~b.- o~. tit., -,' v~ew.s .Of. itl_ ., ( It, by teach ing It, settling It, rulmg over It: ill short; OO¥J_).t.ali~J:D.:?·

) as -a.!,,_:_e:tem style for domjD:ati!lg,-,re..s1LLtG.~d__·fultin,g~a:u- '1 <.;. thority-o _ _II~!:Jhe Oriel~_t.:lb:ave found it useful here to employ Michel Feueault's notion of a discourse, il$ described; by him in

The 'Archaeo/{?gy of ,Klt{jwledgeaprl' _in Dls'Cipl{ile(md PUI'tiAh, to idem·ify Orientalisrn .. My contention is.that' WithoUt examining

J Orientalism, as adiseourse oJ;ie cannot possibly underStand the enormo u sly sy sterna tic disci'PLiti~ by which Europeanculture was able to IjJan~g~an:d. even.produ:ce----the Oii~~!p.?1}ti~~.!!y.,,:s(jQi9- 11QgRally, Jl:lj~i,rarily~-ideq16iVcally;_sdentiff~ally, .ang. im~giDatively

du-ring thepost':'Enlighferiment period .. 'Moreover, soauthoritative it posHitmdidOrienialism have that 1 believe De one writing.thinking, or acting-on the Orient could do 59 without t<i_kingaccount of the limitations on t.hou.ght audactlon imposed by Orientallsm, In _brief, becau.~ of Or:Jentalism, the Q~.Il0-LLand is: not) a fr~e.,~~!~Di tho~ght o:r:.;lctiQl}~_ ThiS': 1,s not to _s~:y :that ,Ofieiltallstn unilaterally determines 'what can besaid about the Orient, butthat jt is, thewholenetwork oJ interests: itleyitab)y brought to bear on (and therefpteal.;yr*, inYc:ih!e,d in) 'any occasion when that peculiar en t~~y "the Orient" 'is in ,questibn. Ho.W this happens is what th§i' book 'tries to demonstrate. It also tries to show thar European

cultur~_g_ai:ned_'io '.str~~_gth ~d_i~entitYl?l se.fting"""ltself Ofr.-a'~_~inst th~ Orient as, a~of.surE_ogate and even unde~uound self ..

HffiOriCally 'and culturally there is a- quantitative as -well as a qualitative difference between the Franco-British involvement in the Orient and-until the period of Amerieanescendancy ~.e_r

i 'l



World War n~the Involvement of every othe[ European and Atlanticpower, To speak of Orientallsm therefore is to speak mainly,; although not exclusively, of a British-and French cultural enterprise, a project whose dimensions take "in such disparate realms as the: imagination itself, the whole of India and the Levant, the Biblical texts and, the Biblical lands", the spice trade, colonialarmies and a long tradition of colonialadministrators, 'a formidable scholarly corpus, innumerable Oriental "experts" and "hands," an Oriental professorate, .a complex array of: "Oriental" ideas (Oriental despotism, Oriental splendor, cruelty, sensuality), many Eastern sects, philosophies, and wisdoms damesricatedIor local, European use~the JIst 'can De extendedmore or Jess indefinit:ely. My J=!0,int is that ()iientalis-m derives from a,~rtic,\lJar C!OJl~Il~Ls:Xp-eJil.':n.c,ed hetw~'&ifam.,oo&.Ji;fance.<an'd:th.~:~)ICWhich until theearlr

I, nineteenth cen~ur~had really m, .ea~t only ~ndia and '~e Bible lands. j From the beginning of the nmeteerrthcentury until the end of i Wodd War II France and Britain dominated the Orient and 1 Orienta:lism'; since World War J1 America has dominated the .' Orient; apd ap.proaches it as France and Britain once did. Out of

~ Whose dynamicisencrmcusly productive even if it 'always' demonstrates lh·(;colTiparativ~ly greater 'strength oE the Occi-

\ dent (Br~.ti~, Jl, ~re. nch, or ""'" ""' '" "" .of '" I call OIlen,t3list.

Jt shouldbe said ar. once that even with the generous number of-books and authors that I examine, there is a Il1 uch larger number

that I simply have had to leave out; My a(~ument; .however.depends neither upon anexhaustfve catalogue of texts dealing with. the Orient nor upon a clearly delimited set-of texts, authors, and, ideas that together make up 'the. Orientalist canon. I have, del'ende,d instead upon a different methodological altemetive=-whose backbone in a sense is the set of historical generalizations I have so far been making, in this Introduction-c-and it is these I want now to discuss in more analytical detail,


T'have begun with the assumption that the0rient is not an inert fact of nature. Tt is not merely there, just as the Occident itself is not just'there either. We must take serio.usIx Vied's great obser-

In troduction.


vation that men make their own history, that what they can know

is what they have made, and' extend it tog_l.'!ography: as. both geegraphical and cultural entities-ill say nothing of historical entities =--such locales, regions, geographical sectors as "Orient" and "Occident" are man-made, Therefore as much as -the West it.~~U', the .-\'

) Orient is an idea thatIias ~ histcry and a tradition o:ftbought, i imagery, and vocabulary that have given it reality and presence in

\ and' [or. the West. The two geogni.phical entities thus support arid to

an extent reflect each other.

Having said that, one must goon to state a number of reasonable qualifications'. In lnefirst place; it would be wrong to conclude that 'the Orient was essentially-an idea, or a creation With no corresponding reality. WhenDisraeli said in his novel Tancred that the East was a career, he meant that to be interested in the 'East was something bright young Westerners' would find to be an allconsuming passion; he should not be interpreted as saying that the East wa~ ,ofllya career for Wesrerners. There werf;-ani! trre~ cultures and .natiorrs whoselocation is in the, East, and their lives, histories, and customs have a brute reality obviously grea,t!'!! than anything tba~ could be Said about them in the West. About that fact 'this study bf Orientallsm has very little tocontrlbute, except to"atkuowledge it tacitly. But the phenomenon of Orientahsmas I study it here deals principally, not with a correspondence between Orientalism and Orient, but with the internal consistency of Orientalisrn and its ideas-about the Orient (the East as career) despite or bey.ond any correspondence', or lack thereof, with a "real" Orient, My pointis that Disraeli'a statement about the East refers, mainly to that created eonsistency, that regular cotrstellationof Ideas ;t~ the pre-eminent thing about the Orient, and not to its

mere being, as Wallace Stevens's phrase has it 'r

,t:- second, guali:fica~on is that i~eas, c.ultures, ~d histories cannot O";_.~~""u:,, seriously be l)e,gerstoodo): studied without 'their force, or more. \.,.:.~~ ~ l·,

~recisely: theit::cb~fi'guj-iltions, of power, alse beiri? S~~di~d.~',)'"~1:;_\~ lieve that the Orient was ~-or, as I call 'It,.Onentahzed \(,1'1' , .. ~ -J -and to believe thatsiich fhings happensJrnpfyas it necessity of l u""'fi ~.r "" the imagm;~Jk)J1J_js to be disingenuous: The. relationship between Occidentand Orient is-a ra_atl6nshlfo~, p~ of dorninationv.of

v,![jing degrees (If 'a complex hegemeny, and i_s quite accurately

indicated in the title ofK M. Panikkar'sclassic Asia and West~rl1' Dominance? The' Orient W<J,S Orientalized riot only because it was,

discovered ,t.q be "Oriental" inallthose ways considered common-



place by an average nineteeuth-century European, but also because if could ,be-that i&,l!ubn;Iltted to being~made Oriental, There Is

(. ",... ;",+_"~,,_,,,.v .. ,._r"~,_.~_.,__,._,.. _ .

very little consent to beIound, for example m tbe fact that Flau-

:rJ''f . bert's ,enc:?unter with an ~gyptian courtesan produced-a widely in-

... \ J,'\' JHuentlal model of the Oriental, woman; she never~P9ke of herself, ,:J JI'~:~ ,~v .~ she, ne. ve.r Soep. resentedh, er em, oti9. ns,' pr~sence,or b',st?0" H cspoke t:/' lJl/ fo!:. __ and represeated her, He was foreign, comparatlvelj wealthy,

,J _';JF male, and these were historical facts of domination thatallowed

/~ ;; him not only to possess Kuchuk Hanetn physically bqt 10 speak

:'"" . for her and tell his readerl; in what way she was "typically Oriental."

'My argument is that Haubert's situation of -strength inrelation. to ,,,Kuchuk. Hanem was not an isolated iiis.tance. It fairly stands .fQf, '1.' t~e, pattern of ~elative,strength .betweenEast and West, and the \ discourse about the Orient that It enabled.

" This briJlgs ust~ a third qualification. One ought never 'to assume

_ that the structure of Orientalism is nothing more than a structure

'i .r: of lies orof mythS Which, were the truth about them to be tdld, Q [,", ",<"l."'; wou~d simply blow away" I ~J,y$elI believe that' Oric~talism is more

.'l .,' particularly valuable as a signof European-Atlautic power over

Y'· the Orient than it is 'as '<1, veridic discourseabout the- Orient (which is what, in its academic er-scbelarly IOlID.,it claims .to be). Nevertheless, 'what we must res[l:ect and try the .sheer knittedtogether strength 'of Orientalist discourse, its very, close lies, to the enabling socio-economic and polirical institutions, and its redoubtable durability. After all, any system 'of. ideas> that can remain unchanged as teachable wisdom (in iliademies, books, congresses, universities, foreign-service institutes) from the period or :Ernest Renan in the late la40s until the present in the United. States' fiUS_{ be-something more formidable than a mere collection of .lies, .Orientallsm, therefore, is not an airy European fantasy, about the

< Orient; but a created body of theory IU)d practice in which, for

{many ge:ner..:tions, there has been a considerable material 'investI ment, Continued investment made Qrient.atism,as a system of

\' knowledge about the Orient, anaccepted gid ~()r~filtering through the c:>ri~nt in,to W~stem consciousness, j~,st as, that -same inve,stme~t I multiplied-e-indeed, made truly producnve-c-the statements prollfi erating out from Orientalism into the generaleulture,

Gramsci has made the useful analytlc distinction between c!y_il and political society .in which the, former is made up of ~nta:ty (Tjr-at~lls.LIal:i@nal-and- noncoerci ve )a!l1Uations, like schools,


families, .and uJl'ions, tIle latter of state mstitutions (the atqly, the police; the central bureaucracy). whose role in tl1~pglityjli_glke_~t_ domination. Culture, of course. is to be found operating within

~·-cj.vil society, where theinlluenee of ideas, of lnstitutipns,artd of other pet sons works not through domination but by what: Gramsci calls consent. In ariy society not totalitarian, then, certaincultural forms predominate over others, Just as certain ideas are more in: fluential than others: the form of this cultural 'leadership. is what Gramsel 'has identified as '!egemonXJ an indispensable concept for any understanding of cultural life in the industrial West. It is h~gemol~y;.!$, r-a!h.ecfue r~~~t of c~emonyat work, that' g!ves Orientalism the durability and the strengtliT have been speaki!l_g about so. far. Orientalism 1S never far from what Denys Hay hali called the idea of Europe,".a collective .notion identifying "us" .Europeans as againstall "those' non- Europeans, and indeed it can beargned that. the major. component in European culture, is precis-ely wh,at made that culture hegemonic beth in and outside. Europe: the ide;l of European jcJenti_ty as 'a superior one Incomparison withal! (he non-European peoples' ana cultures, ThereIs inadditionthe hegemony of European ideas about tb~ Orient, themselves' reiterating Europeau'supericirity over Oriental backwardness, usnally -overriding the possibility that a more independent, or more skeptical, thinker might have had different views on the. matter.

, , lij. a quite constant way? Orientalism depends for its-strategy on

{this flexible .positionai superiority. which puts the Westerner in .a whole series of possible.relationshlps with the Orient without ever losing him therelative upper hand, AnQ why should it have' been otherwise, especially puring the period oJ extraerdinary European ascendancy from the late Renaissance to, the present? 'The scientist,

the scholar, the missionary; the trader, Or tire' soldier was in, 0):' thought about, the Orient because he'could De,tliere" Or 'could think about it, with v~rJ little res~c~~~!!~~ Qrt~p:&_p~rt, Under the general heading otIfIioW'Jedge of the Orient, and within the umbrella of Western hegemony over the Orient during the period from the end of the eighteenth century, there emerged a complex Orient suitable for study in the 'academy, for display in the museum, for reconstruction in the colonial office, for theoretical illustration in anthropetogicat, biologieel, linguistic, .raciat.aad historical theses about mankind and the I universe, .for instances of economic and sociological th¢'6.ri(!~ of development,'revqlUtion, cultural ptlrSon-



~li~y, national or religious character. Additionally,tbe 'f:Jf\aginative exru_ni~j)_deHtal:vas ~ased more or lr:.ts.s e~~l_ll~~e1y ./ upat) a sovereignWestem consciousnessout of-whose. unchallenged

centrality an Oriental world emerged, first according to general

\ ideas about whe or what was an Oriental, then according to a detailed lfiigi¢ gbv~rned not' simplY by empirical reality but ,by a battery, of desires, repressiol~S, investI?:~en~~n~ projections:. If:-ve "can point to great Orientalisr works ,of genume scholarship like Silvestre de Saey's Chrcstomathie arabeet Edward William Lane's ACCQunt ot tke Mallners and, C!.!SI'Oin.:s· ot the Mo~lem Egypti:tms,

we need also tonote that Renan's. and Gcbineau's racial ideas came out of the same impulse, il.$ did a great many Victorian pornographic novels (see. toe anaLy~i.s.' by Steven Marcus of "TheLustful Turk'fJ).

And yet, one must rceeatedly ask- oneself whethec what matters in Orientalism is the general group of ideas Qveuiding-tbe.l11ass of maserial=-about which who couIe' deny that theywere shot through ~ith 90ctrinesof' European superiority. various kinds of racism, imperiaIis~} and-the like, dogmatic views (if "the Gldental" as a kind of ideal and unchanging abstractionb+-or the much more varied work produced by almost uncountable individual writers; whom one would take up as individual instances of authors dealing with the Orient In a .sense the two aiternatives,geoera1 and particular, ate ieaUy two l?er~pecti.:v,es(jn the same material: in hoth instances one would have to deal with pioneers in the field like William Jones, with great artists like .Nerval or, Flaubert. And why would it not' be pessibleto 'empJoy bot;):t per_spectives together, or one -after the other? Isn't there an obvious danger of distortiou (of precisely the kind fhatacademlc OrientalisJfi has always been prone to) jf either too, general or toospecific a level of- deseription is maintained systemat i cally?

My two fears are distortion and inaccuracy, or rather .the kind df maccuraoy produced bytoo dogmatic a generality and too positivistic a localized fOCIlS. In trying to deal with these problems I have tried to deal with 'three.main aspectsof my own contemporary reality that seemto me t.o point the way out of the methodological or perspectival (difficulties I have been' discnssing, difficulties that

might force one, in the first instance; into wtitiliga'coilrse Polemic on so unacceptably general a level of description as not to be _}Vorth the effort, or in the second instance, into writing so detailed and atomistica series of analyses as to lose a11 track 01 the g'en'eI<\l



lines of force informing: the field, giving it its special cogency. H;}';'-- 7, then lo' recognize Individuality and to reconcile if with its in;.F teUig~nt;. ~~. means passive, or merely dictatorial, .general

and begemonIc' confext?:


I mentioned three aspects Qf my contemporary reality: I must explain and briefly disC4SS them DOW, SO .that it can be seen how I was Jed t<? a particular course ·of 'researchand wtiting.

1. 'The disiinctiot: between. p~re and polilfcai kfiowleil'ge. It is very easy (0 argue th·at .knewledge about Shakespeare or WordsWOl'tb. is not whereas knowJedg¢ about contemporary China or the, Soviet Union is; My own formaf and professional designation is that of "humanist," a title which indicates the humanities as my' field and therefore the unlikely eventuality that there might be, anything.political about what t do in that field. Of course; all these labelsand terms arequite unnuanced as 1.. use them here, but the-general truth of what lam pointing to is, I think; widely held. One reason for saying that a humanist who writes about Wordsworth, or all. editor whoSe$"p,il:cialty' is .Keats, is 'pot involved in anyth,ing political 'is thatwha; he do-es seems to have no direct political effect upon reality in the everyday sense. A scholar whese field is Soviet economies works in .a highly charged area where there is much government interest, and what he might prO:duce in the way of studies. 'Or proposals wilt be taken up by policymakers, government officials, institutional economists, intelligence experts. The distinction between "humanists' and. pen;ons whosework has, policy implications, 'or P9I1tjcal significance, can be broadened further by saying that the former's ideological color is a- matter of incidentalimpertanee to politic!! (although possiply of great moment to his colleagues in. the field, who may object to his Stalinism 0.(" fascism or too easy liberalism), whereas the ideplo:gy of the Jatter is, woven, directly into his material-c-indeed, econ9mic~.p:olitics, ana sceiology in the modern academy are ideolpgical scienees-c-and therefore' taken for granted as being "political. '!

.Nevertheless 'the de':.termining implngemeat on most knowledge

. '

,'" -,-



(pr0dUC~d in the eon t~mp_orarr West (and I~~re' r sl'ji:':aJI, ~tlinly about the United States) is that- It be nonpolitical, that. IS, schelarly, academic, impartial, above partisan or small-minded -doctrinal

belief. One can have no quarrel with such an ambition .in theory, perhaps, but in practice the reality is. much more problematic N0~ one bas ever devised a method for detaching, the scholar from the

! ci_r~tl_l!l&tl,l.nCes qf I,ife; ff9m the {acr of' his i~volv~ment (CCiDSCious ,.or unconscious) wititiClass, 'afset ofbeliefs, a social posithm, or from - Ute mere activity of being- i- member of a soeiety. These

continue to bear on what he does professioriaUy;-even' though naturally enough his research, and its fruits dQ attempt to reacfi a. level of relative freedom from the inhibitions and the- restrictions, of brute, eve'r'yd:ay reality: For there is such a thing as knowledge that is less, ta:th",r than more, partial than the individual (with his:

, 'entangling:and distracting life circumstances) who produces it. , . Yet this knowledge is not therefore a~l()matically nonpolitleal.

~ ~ Whether discussions of literature or of classical philo,lqgy are fraught witn-or have uamediated-e-politieal significance is a very large question that 1 'have tried to-treat in .some detail elsewhere .. r. What 1 am interested indoing now is suggesting how fhegel1!;iral liberal CO,nSeD,SU$' that .~ knowledge is . fulidainentalll_Eonpolitical (and conversely, that overtly political knowledge is not "true" knowledge) obscures the highly if obscurely organized pclitical vcircumstances obtaining when knowledge is, proDuced. No OOe is helped in understanding this today when the adjective "political" is used as 'a label to discredit any' work for daring to violate the protocol of-pretended suprapolitical objectivity. We may say, first, thatcivil aocietyrecognizes agradarton 'of political importance in the various fields 6£ knowledge, 'fa s<;)Jqeex.tent the political importance gi,ven a. field cOnie$ from the possibility' of. its direct translation into 'economic terms; hut to a greater- ex-tent political importance comes from the closeness of a field toascertain'able sources of powerin political.society. Thus an economic S!l;I_dy of long-term Soviet energy potential and its effect on milita'ry capability .is likely to he commissioned by the Defense Department, and thereafter to acquire a kind of political status impossible for .a :sttidy :pf Tolstoi's earlyficrren financed 10 part 'by a foundation. Yet both works belong #1 what civil society acknowledges to bea similar- field, Russianstudies, even though one work may be done by a very cotiServative: economist, theotber l~y a radical literary



historju-?_. My p~iJ]'~ here is th~lt"Rus-sja~'as ageneral subject matter has political pnonty over- nlcer disnnotiens such as "economics" and "lit_erarY history,' beC(lusepolitieal society in Gramsci'ssense teaches intosUC? re~~s,Qe civil society as the academyand saturates them With slgnJftt:-a:rtce of direct concern to it..

I do DO.f want t6 press all this any further on general theoretical grounds: It s:ems _to me the value and credibility of my case can. be demonstrated by bemg much more specific, in the w.ay, for example, Noani Chomsky has, studied the instrumental connecnon bel:-vee~ the \~ietnam War and the notion of objective scholarship as It. was a pP! led to co:verstate-sponsored military research .~. Now because Bn.taln, ~:ancl'l, ~n~ re~ently till! United States are J.mpe.dal powers, tbeu-PQhtrcaLsoclelle~ Impart to\theircjvil societies a sense of urgency. a direct political infu_sion as it were, Where and whenever matters pert.aining to_ .their imperial interesrs vabrcad are concerned. 1 do~bt thu.t it is tmitrQversi-al, for example, 'to say that an EngIi:hm~n r~' Ind~a- c;ir, Egypt -in the Iater nineteenth century tonic au mterest in tlrese countries' that' was never far from their sJ.atus in, his mind, as British C_?[6riie~. 'to say this may seem quite dilferent from saymg that all a£.ad'emlc knowledge about India and Eg~p't is. ~omeho:,: tinged and impressed with) violated by, the gross pohtl7al fact:_~n~~e-t that is what lam saying inthis study ?f Orieritalisrn. F?r If It IS true that DC) production of knOWJedgelif ~n the hum, an scrences can . e, ve~ ig~:ore. or ~-iSC,laim it,S' author's] I Involvement as a human .subject In his own c!tcumstances, then it) f m~st also be true that for a Eu:topean or American.sfudying-tfie Orient there can, be ne discl¥mi:tJg_Jbe."mai:li circumstance-s of hi; \ ,actu,aI.ity~-th·M 11e c,O'~es .',up, agajns,~ ~~e Orient as a Eur-op~;Il or Amt;flca~ first?,asan JUdJ:1dual secbna~Aria to l:ie·'a:-European or ,11n ATI;lc;tlcan in such a SItuation -isb-y no means an inert fact. it meant _~nd _ n:eans b:jn~ }wa~e, hb_we~er <:limly, that__pne belongs toa po~er wl.-~ definite mterests in the Ori€!nt~and more important, that €lne be!ongs to ~ part of the earth witb -a definite,histQry:of involvement in the' Orient almost since- the time of Homer.

Pur ih this way, these PQIlticalactu~litie_s are -a"tiJl, to~ undefined, a~d general to be really interesting, Anyone woujd agree to. them :"'lthout necessaruy"@:greeingaJso that they mattered very much, for instance, to Flaubert as he Wrote S,d/al11/nb6; or to H. A. R. Gibb as he wrote'M(}de_m Tresdsin-Islam, The ·trouble is: that' there is too great a dislanCepelwe_eti the big dominatin'g fact, as 1 have de-

- ,

I I, _


I 'I I I

! I



i ~







.scribed it, and the details pf everyday Uf~ that' govern the minute discipllne of a novel or a scholarly text as coach is: being, written. (Yet if we eliminate frem thestart 'any notien that "big" facts like I imperial domtnatien cart be 'applied mechanically and deterministically to such complex mutters as culture and ideas, then we will

begin to approach an irttetestingkind of study, My idea is- that European and then American interest in ~he Orient was _ political according to some ef the obvious: historical accounts 01 it that 1 have given here, buLthat it. was the culture that created that eter~st, that ~~ted dy~amically along- with b~ute _ politic~l, econormc; and military rationales to make the Orient ,tbe_ vaned and complicated place that it obviously was in the field I call Orientalism,

Therefore, Orieatalism, is. not a mere politioal rsubject matter -or field that is reflected passively byculturevschalarsliip, or institutions.nor is it a large'iln,d' cliIIJls~colIectio.n of texts about the Orient; .nor is it representativeand ~xpres~iv_e of some nefarious "Western" ifu_perialist 'plot to hold dewnthe. "Oriental" world. 11 is

I rather adistributioli- of" geopolitical awaI!:m~s,S into aesrhetic, I scholarly, ~ socielogical, histerical.rand _philological texts; itis an e~not only of abasic geogra1:!hical distincticn (the world is made up of ~_2~~~qu_a1 halves, Orient and Ot,elden'!:,) but al!!eef a whQle .series 9f '.'i!!~!,ests" whish, by such means as scholarly discovery, philological reconstruction, psychological ~atysis, landscapeand sociological description, it' not only-creates but-also maintains; it is,. rather than expresses, .a certain wili or intention to understand, in some cases tocontrol, manipulate, even to incorporate, what is a_ mariife:S.lly different (or alternative and novel) world; it is,above all, a discourse that is, by no mean~ in direct, corresponding relationship with, political power in the raw, but rather is produced and exists in an uneven exchange with various kinds' of power.vshaped to a degree Py the .exebange With P9werr politi®!. (as with a' colonial or imperial establishment), P.~~_-~telleetuhl (a~, wi fhreigningscience~ lik~ com para_tN~ linguistics or anatomy, or any of-.the modem polioy.sciences), P~~! cultural (aswith orthodoxies and canons, of taste, texts, 'values},

--------------. .. -

power. moral (as with ideas about what "we" do and what "they"

"1lliotifo''Or'unders:~and as "we" do). 'Indeed, my realargument Is ,fl,at Odenta)ism is-s-and does not .sirnply represent-c-ascansiderable dj,me:I),siQn of modem polijical-intellectualcultnre, and as such bas.less 1<;> do with the OrIept than it does witil"our"world.



Beeause: Orientalism is a cultural and a political fact then it

~oe$ net exist in some archival vacuum; quite the cont(;ry, r think,

It; can be shewn that what is thQught, said, or even done about the

Qrient follows (perhaps, occurs within) certain distlnct and intellectuallycknowable lines. Here too, a considerable degree pf

nuance and elaboration can be seen working as between the broad superstructural pressures and the details ~f_ composition, the f~cts

of, textuality: Most humauistic scbclars ate, 1 think, perfectly happy

WI~l the notl(?~ that texts exist in. contexrs, that there 'is such a tuing

as Intertextuality, that the pressures of conventions, predecessors,

~~ rhetorical styles, limit what Walter Beajamlncnce cf111e.d the "evertaxmg of the productive 'person in the name of . , . the principle of 'creativity,'!' In which the poet is believed 'on his own, _1 e- ~ and out ef.his pure mind, to 11 ave , brQught forth his work.' Yet

the~_e ls a :Fein, ~tan~e t~a, 11,0,' VI: _tll~t PO"li,ti_Ca)l ins,tjt~ti~n~, an, d ideo-

logical constraints act In the same manner on the Individual author.

A"humanistwill believeit to interesting fact to any interpreter

of B.a1za'~ _ that he was influenced in the Comedle humaine by

the corifliet between Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire and Cuvier, but the

same sort of pressure on Balzac of deeply reactionary monarchism

is felt in some v'!gue way to, demean. his literary "genius" and therefore to ~e Iess wqrth serious study, Similarly-c-as Harry Bracken has been tire1essJy showipg-pb:ilosophers will conduct

their discussions of Locke, HUJJ1,e;,and empiricism without ever

takirrg into account that, there is ali expllC.itC(HiIle,cfibnih these

classic writers between their "philosophic" doctrines and racial

t~leory, j~stifications of slavery, orarguments for colonial exploita-

uon, 8, These ate COIilrI'!;on l!DOU gh wa)lS;JJJL_~ch contemporary scholarship k,e_epCsjtse.!L~' "--,,-.. -- '

Perhaps if is true. that most attempts to rub culture's nose

in tbe mud of politics-have been crudely ieonoclastic; perhaps, also

the -socia:linte~retation of literature in my own field has S_~Hly not kept up WIth the enormous technical advances in detailed textual analysis. But there is no getting- away lrom the fact -that literarystudie~ In gen-eral, 'and American Marxist theorists in /' particular, have avoided the effort of seciouslyl;!~jdgi~g the gap between the-superstructural and the base levels in.textual, historical SGI)._oI~rship; onanother occasion Ll?v_~ ,gglle .. s&..far «S to .say that " " the ht¢rarx~cul~ural es!abllsbment as _ a wbole hrUn:le¢la.reo the \ serious studyof_imF~ti_~liw_ffii~tS. PEar Orientalism .~. brings ope up directly against 'that gnestion-that is, to realizing



{lut POlitical. imp.eri.a:is~. go~em. S entire nC.I'u. or'$tl!dy~]a~. ion, and scholarly institutions-c-in isuch a way as to make Its

voidance an intellectual and historical impsssibility. Yet there will always remain the perennial escape mechanism of s'aying that

a literary scholar and a philosopher, for example, are trained in, .literature and philosophy .respectively, not in politics or ideological analysis, In other. words. -the speeialist argument can work (Iuite effectively to block thelarger arid, .in my opinion, the more intelIectually-serious perspective.

Here it seems to me there is a simple two-part answer to be given, at least so Jar as; the stud y of im peri~ismandcuJ ture ,( or Orientalism) is concerned, In the first place, nearly every nlneteenth-century writer (aml the same is true enough of writers in earlier. periods) was extrt!tlrdiiiarHy well aware (if t,he fact of empire; this is it subject riot very well 'studied; but iJ will not take ~ modern Victorian specialist long' to admit that liberal cultural heroes like John Stuart Mill, Arnold, Carlyle, Newman, Macaulay, Ruskin, 9t;:Q~ge Eliot, and even Dickens had definite views on race and Imperialisrn.vwhich are quite easily to be found af work in their writing. So even, a specialist must deal with the knowledge

I A . thar:M!I);;for example; made it dear in On Liberty and Representa-

. .J~ I. ~' (iJe--f;ovemmellt that hi~ views tb~re could not be applied t.o

L j India (he was an India Office functionary for a good deal of hIS

. ,,:-f life, after all) beca use the 'Indians were civilizationally, If 110t

"b.,( .racially, 'inferior, The same kind of ~arado!_j~ to be found in Marx, .

--v-~ as I try to show in, this book. ill the second place, to believe [bat politics inthe form df imperialism bears upon the production of literature; schtilarsh~p, ·s.Qdal theory; and ltisroty writing is by .110 means equivalent to s'aying that culture is therefore a demeaned

or denigrated tiling. Quite the contrary: my wholepoiut is- t9 say thatwe can better understand the perslstence and the durabllity of saturating hegemonic systems like cul!uf;e wh~we realiZe that their intetn<!li:op_strain ts upon writers ana thinkers were eraductil!s, not unilaterally inhibiting, It is this idea that Gra~cr, certainty,and

'1 Foucault and Raymond Williams in, tbeir'Veij- different ways-have been ttyiI),gl to illustrate. Eve}1 one-or-two pages by Williams on "(he USJ;<S of the Empire" in The Long Revolution tell us more about riineteehth-century cultural richness.than many volumes 0'1" hermetic textual .analyses."

Therefore I study Orientalisraas a dynamic exchange between




individual uuthors -and the latge peliticaleonccrns shaped by the three gr-eat~mpires-British, French, Anrerican-c-m whose. intellectual andirnaglnative territory the w.dtingwasproduced. What inrerests we mosras- a scholar is not the gross political verity but the: detail, a's Jndeed what interests us in someone like Lane or Flaubertor Renan is not the (to' him) indisputable truth that Occidentals aTC suped6r to Orientals, but the profoundly worked 'over arid modulated evrdence at his detailed .work within the very wide space opened up by that truth. One need only remember that Lane's Mallllersimd Customs of (be Modern E.gyptians isa classic of historical and-anthropological observation because-ofIrs style, its. enormously Intelligent and brilliant details, 110t because of its simple reflection of racial superiority, to understand what i am saying here. \

Th~ kind ~f political quel;:tiOI1;S raised byOrieutalism, tlien, ar as follows: What other sorts of intellectual, aesthetic, seholarly, t~l}d e~Hural e.nef&ies went into the ma.kiiigof an iruperialist traition "lIke the Orientalist obe?: How did . pbiloJo&y; Iexicograph ;. histoty, bjbl~gy. political and economlc theory, novel-writing, .and . lyric poetrycome to the service cif Orientalisrn's broadly imperialist view of the world? What changes, modulations, refinements, even / re:~lutJ:~ns take place within Orientalism? What if; the meaning ofoflgmahty, of continuity. of individuality, in this -cQnl~xt? How does' _ Orientalism transmit or reproduce itself fro,rtl ope .epoch to another7 ~ line!_, ho,:" ~e.. !!ea~ ~~e cuJtU,~A1.'. historical phepomenon of Orientalism as a kind of wilted human wwk-:-not of mere unconditioned ·iatioc'i.nailon-':in all its histbdcal'coinple~ity; .detail, and worth without at the same .tirne Josing sight-of. thealliance between cultural work, politic al tendencies, tlie state; and the specific realities of dominaticn? Governed __ t?y_; study.can responsibly addiess Itself tbi'poliHcs and cUlti,irtiBut this. isnottb'sa y ·that 'such a: shrdie.sfiiElfshes -a' hard:an:d:ri'St';ule abou t therelationship between knowledge and politics. My argument is '

that ~~c. h _ )1~a~l.'S:tiC i.nveSl\gation must formulate the.ll. ature of \ that connection III the specific context oJ the study" the subject matter, and its historical circumstances.

2. The metllOdolagir;al 'questien, In a previous book I .gave a good deal 01 th9lJg.nt and analysis to (be m)3JhQdoJogicai lmperiance for work in the human 'sc'ienq~ of finding- and fo-rrriulating 'a' first step, a point of departure, a beginnilig pclri.cipIe.ll A major lesson



I Iearned and tried to present was that there is no such thing as a .merely -give!", QC simply available, starting point: beginnini\s- have to be made for each project in such a way m; to enable what follows from them, Nowhere in my-experience has the difficulty of this lesson been more censeiously lived (\yjth whatsuccess-e-or failure -1- cannot really say) than in this study (j)f o rientalism. The idea Of begi;nning; Indeed the act of. begiri nin g, n~c~t;§sa:rily involves

~' an act-QLdelimitatiQ.~ ~y' ~l sQI~lethmg .ls "cJJt :-DUL oL~ _ g!eiH mass of material, .separated r from the mass, and maCl;e ~.o stand for, ;/ as wellas be, '8 startio.g peint, a beginnj:ng; for thestudent Of texts

- one such notion ?f i~au9~~al delimlt~t~~n - is_~?uiS Althusser's idea

Qf the problematic.A specific determinate-unity or a text, or group of texts, which is something: given rise to by analysis." Yet in the case-of Orientalism (as opposed to the case of Marx's texts, which iswhat Althusser .studies) there is· not simply the problem of finding, a p~int ofc!eparture~ or problematic, but also the Cju!bstion 6f d.Gosignating which 'texts, authors, and periods ar-e the ones' best

~uitedfor study. '

L i _---if.. It .has seemed to me foolish. to attem pt an encyclo~e~ic _na~ra ~ i ve

history of Orientallsm, first- ot all because limy gUIding principle was to be ~lhe European .idea of the Orient" there would be virtually -DO limit to the material 1 v{puld have had to' deal with; second, because. the narrative model i_tself did not suit my descriptive and polit_ic-al interests; third, because in. such books as, Raymond Schwab's La Renaiss(lr).c(:! orientale, Johann. Fuck's; Die A raiJisch'e'l1 Studien {n.: Europa his in dell' Allfailg des 20. Iahrhunderts, and more recently, Dorothea Metlitzkl's The; Matter 01 Araby in Medie.vatEngJand18 there already exist encyclapedic works on certain aspects of the European-Oriental encounter suchas make the 'critic's job, in the-general political and injellectual context I sketched above, a different one.

There still remained the problem of'cutting. clown avery fat archive to .manageable dimensiens.vand more important, outlining: sometbing in the nature of an intellectual order withinthat gn'?llp

\\ 0f ~e~ts- without -~t the ~ame t~e follpw~ng amindlessly ch~o:n9- _

J I;'~ logical order. M~_,~arting P?lllt ,tber~re h,as~en ~he BI'!i~,

I ,\~ , Fr~enen§e of the QneE! talf~ -i!~ . a unit,

,\'0 l~ what ma®~tkat~* _way of'hi~t9Jipa:1 ~'Uiiitellectua] bac_~..!2.-l!,D.d> wh!}t_tlie __ q\,i:ali_~y and icharaeter Of _-t~~.__~xperlence has been. For reasons I shall discuss presently I limited that already limited, (but.still inordinately large) set ofquestions tb



tbe. Anglo-Freneh-Americarr experjen~!., ~l (hI;! Arabs !lnd Isl~Jl1, which for 'almost a thousand years tQ-ge~her stood Ior the Orient. Immediately upon doing that,a large part of the Orient seemed to have beep. elhninated-c-Indra, Japan, China, and other sections ·of tl:le Far East-c-not' because these regions were not important (they obviously have been) Qut because one Could discuss Europe's experience of the Ne'JT Orient, mof Islam, apart from .its experieuceof (he Fat Orient. Yet at certain moments of" that general Eurepean history of interest in the East, particular parts of '(he Otien] like Egypt, Syria, and Arabia cannot be d_jscussed without -also studyin~ Europe's involvement in the more' distant parts, of which Persia and India are the most important; 'a notable case in l)Qint is the connection between Egypt and India so far _as eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Britain wasconcerned, Similarly the French role in deciphering the Zend-Avesta, the pre-eminence of Paris es a center (;If Sanskritstudlcs clurilig the first decade .of the nineteenthccnIury, the faeJ that 'Napoleon's, interest in till:

Orient was f;:Qo_tingeQt upon his sense of the British role in India: all these Far Eastern intetests directly influenced French interest in the Near E:~r; )-sla-n); and the-Arabs,

Bdla:inanaFrlinc.e dominated the Eastern Mediterranean hom about the end of the seventeenth century on, Yet my diseussion of that domination and "systematic interest does not do justice to (a) the important contributions to Orientalism iof Germany, Italy, Russia, Spain, andPortugal and' (b)_ the fact that o-ne of the important impulses toward' the study of the Orient in the eighteenth century was therevolution in Biblical studies stimulated by such vari6us'ly inlerestiqg pioneers as Bis'110P Lowth, Bichhern, Herder, and Michaelis. In the "first place, I had' to focus rigorously upon: the British-Erenchand later the Americau material because it seemed inescapablr true not only that Britain and France were the pioneer_nations in the Orient arid in Orientalstudies, but that these vanguard pOSitions were held by virtue of the two greatest colonial networks i'Q pre-twentieth-century history; the American Oriental position since World War n has fit-I think, quite self-consciously -in the -places excavated by the twoearlier European power-so Then too, I believe that the sheer. qlfality, consistency, and mass: of British,Frenc-h, and Americer; 'Writi)"lg on the Orient lifts it above the doubtless crucial work done in -GermanYi Italy, RUssia, and elsewhere, B~t I think it is also true that the major steps in Orientalscholarship were first ,faken in eitherBritainand France,



then elaborated upon by Germans. Silvestre de Saey; for cxam~le, Wa!l110! on,ly the first moo em and institutional EuropeanC?r!entaJlst, who worked on Islam, Arabic literature; the Druze religion, and Sassanid Persia: he was also the teacher of Chainpollion and of Fr~~ B~op.p, th~ founder of German comparative lin_guistiC's. A similar claim ()£ priorit:y and subseq~ent pre-eminence can be made for William JODeS and Edward Willj_amLane.

10. tJf~~econ4 pla~,e-antl .here the failings of Illy 'study of Orlent'ali~m 'are-am_plymade IIp Ior-there_ha~ been some important recenLwotk on the backgrol,lnd in Biblical 'schplarship to the rise 'of what I have-called modem Orien talism. The best and the most . \ illuminatingly relevant is E~5L Shaffer's illlpressi_ve "Kublc:_ k11(lll"

I a .. n.d The. Pay ,O.! Je"rusa[e'i-i:l,'l .a .• n In .. dtS.P .. ·. ens. .. ~.tuay"5r(h~ .o~lS '/ of Roma~Jlti~m.,.. and of" the.l,otellec~u~.lactlV1ty .underprm:unga

sreat deal of what goes OD In Colendg»l, Browning, and George . Eliot. To some degree Shaffer's workrefines uponiJte"Llutlines provided in Schwab, by articulating tbe material (if relevance to be found ill the German Biblical scholars and usiDg that material to

read, in an intelligent 'and always interesting way, the work of three major British writers, Yet what is missing in the ~ook Is some ,sense of the political, as, well as Ideological edge glVen the Oriental TIw:terJal by the Britisha~d French writers I am principally concerned with; in addition unlike Shaffer I attempt to elucidate

,_. ,t -_ ). -..

subsequent d~velopmentsjil academic as well as literary Orientalism

that beat onthe connection between :Britiso and french; Orientalism. oft'the one hand mid the rise ~f an explicitly colonial-minded irnperialism on the other, Then too, I wish to show how jall these

-:7' earlier matters are reprOduced more, or: less in Americen Ori¢ntali~in after the-Second World War.

Nevertheless there is a possibly misleading aspect to my study, where. aside from an occasional reference, r do not exhausrlvely disCl,!s~ the German developments afterthe inaU'gural period dominated by Sacy. Any work ,that;seeks 'to provide an understanding of academic QrieJ;ltalism and pays little attention to scholars like Steinthal, 1y1iiller., Becker, Goldziher, Brockelm:;lDn,. Noldeke-1o mention' only a lra.Mful-rreeds to' be reproached, and I freely reproach myself. I particularly regret not taking more account of the great scientific prestige that accrued to German $cjt01ats:hi'p ~y the middle of the nineteenth century, whose neglect was made m,~o a denunciation 6f insular Brifishscholars by George Eliot. I have in mind Eliot's unforgettable portrait of Me. C2asiubon in Middle-



march. One reason Casaubon cannot finish his Key to All Mythologies is, according to ills young' cousin Will Ladislaw, that he is unaequainted with German seholatsbip. For not Qnly bas Casaubon chosen a subject "as changing as chemistry: new dlscoveries are constantly making new paints of view'': he is. undertaking a job similar to a refutation O{ Paracelsus because "he is not an Orientalist, yqu, k:no~.",lG

E,JiQt: was not wrong iniri:Jplyingtbat by about 1830, which Is when Middl-emarcli is set, German- scholarship had fully attained its ~Ui()peilnpre-eminente. Yet at no time in German scholarship dUIlI'lg tb~ first two-thirdsof the nineteenth century could ii, close . pa,rtnership have developed between Orientalists and a protracted, . !i·us-tamed. 11(liibllOI interest .. in the Orient. There wa,s netblng in Germany'th correspond to the Angle-French presence in India, the Levant, North Africa. Moreover, the German Orient was almost exolusivelj, a scholarly, .or at least a classical, orient: It was made 'the SUbject ,0£ lyricS', fanta~es,aI!d evennovels, but it was never actual, the way Egypt and Syria 'Were actual for Chateaubriand, Lane, Lamartine, Burton, Disraeli, or Nerval, There is some.significanoe .in the fact that the fWQ most renowned German works on the Orient, Goethe's WestiistUther Diwan and Friedrich Schlegel's Uber .die Spl"~ehe ufld Weisheil de" Indler, were based respectively on a Rhine journey 'and on hours spent in Paris libraries, WJ;iat German Qrjental- scholarship did was to refine and elaborate techniques whose .applicarion was to texts, myths, ideas, and lal:fguages almost literally &athered from the Orient by imperialBritain and France.

Yet what German Orientalism had in .eemmon. with AngloFrench and later American Orientalism, was a kind of intellectual authority over the Orient within Western culture. This authority must in large part be the subject of any descriptionof Orientalism •. an~ it is .so in tills; stUdy. Even the name. Orientalism suggests a serious, perhaps, ponderous style of expertise; when I apply it. to modern American: soclalsclentisis (since they do not call themselves Orieatalists.rrry use of the word is anomalous), it isto draw attention. to the way Middle, Eastexperts can 'still 'draw on the vesti'g~s Qf Orientalism's intellectual position. in .aineteentb-century Europe.

There is, nothing mysterious or natural about au (horify. It is formed, irradiated, disseminated; it is instrumental, it is persuasive; it bas status, it establishes canonsof taste and value; it is virtually



hidisfinguishable from certain ideas it dignities ;is' true, and from traditions" petcepti'ous;and Judgmellts it fOtH)S, transrnit~, ·teptPduces. Above all, authority' can, iFideed must; be ali'alyz:ed" All these attributes of authority apply to Orieatalism, andmuch of what 1 do in this study is to describe both the' historical-authority in 'ana

the personal authorities o~ Orientalism. . . _

My principal methodological qevi~es, for stu4ying autheriry here

are what can be called strat~gic lo'{:ali(m., which is, '! way of describiug the auther's pqsitiQ~xrwi:th re,gard to the Oriental material he writes: about, and ~:ti:atl{gic [ormation, which is,,!: wayofa:n<J:1yzing the relatienship between tc;Xt's and the way in which groups 'qf tex~s;,.types of texts, e\!~n textual' genres; ac;,ql!.ire J,ual.fS, density; and referential power, arp.Qn:g themselves and thereafter in the culture jj.t large, Luse the·1ibtioJ1.pfstrategy·s.implYip identify the problem e:vI:ty'wri ter on the Orient 'bas f<lcJid: how to .~:et hold

. of if, how td approach it .. how-not to be defeaJed or overwhelmed 'by its sublimity, its scdpe, its awful dimensions. Everyone who ( writes about the Orient' 'must locate himself vrs,,~Hds- Hie Orient; : translated into his text, this 'location includes the kind of narrative. .~ voice he adopts, the: type of structurehe builds, the kinds of images,

I ~ .'. :lhem~§~ motifsthatclrcula~e in his text"---'all qf,w~ich :32_9...:.Uf to

, jl . deliberate: w.l}Y§_of I'1.~~:ln,g the~ead~r, ,c.o.nlammg the Qnen~,

I 1,\1 . and finaJ1r'Iepre~enlll:l;g It or speaking un Its b~half.None of .this

I' (and this.Is true .: eyep of Hom!!cr,)·a§~lllPe~~Qw_e..;_gnent~. p~~\Iedent,

I I . v"':, . fon:e-' pl;e~~,-kij()wle:4~e~f tbe~d¢lit" tQ·-wb ith_;~ ~n~ on

I. -(. ;~"'~' VWhlCh he relies>,AdditionalIy, e.ach work on fhe Onent ilffilw!es

II I~I 02~~4,{~ ~,.ht$~lf~.wl~ ;Q!her works:, wi~ agd'ieEces, .. ,,:,dtlt .in~tihHions,'W1t1i1~ . !"~ ,y¥~~ Qn~se~. The ensem.ble of relationslllpsbe~ween,works,

I I : j~. :. '., ~~,. J. i I a~dle~ce,s) and som.' e _partrcular:.aspects of t"he Orient th.eref~~e

I lifjcrq;;C,onstltutes ananalyzable formatmn-for example.i that- ?f _pbi.lo-

1 I [if·,.f 1 logical studies, . of anthologies ofexrracts from Onental. bt~ratIIF.e,

/-<4 #- of travel books, of Oriental fantasles=-whose, p.resence> III time, III

If .' discourse, in institutions. (schools, libraries, fpreign seryice$.~:gives.

!II i '/1 it strength .and authority.

111' .. It. is" d.~ar~_J hope, tP~t m~ c9nc~rn with a~t):'lo~t:y does not

I ; entail . ~qalyS'l$ of what lies hidden .lll~e ?r~ent"lis~ .', t~xt:. ~ut

Ii: : analYSIS rather of th~ text's, .. "su,rf~ce: Irs. 'extl;nQ., . .r.lty . to what It .. de-

jS;Cri'bes. I do not think that this. Idea can be oYeremp\la.s1z.ed.

j~!. Orientalism is' premised upon ~r~!iOtity. tnatis,oD the fact that

!t. __:~"> the Oiientlilist,poer or scholar, makes the QrJent speak, describes

Ij .

Ijlt I




th~ 'Orient, renders its mysteries plain the West. He is never concerned wi til the Orieqt4xceptas ilie, first ca useof w,hat he says. What he says and writes, byvutLieof tile fact that it is said or written, is meant to indicat.e that the Oiienf.alist Is outside the Orient, both~s an e.xi~teritial MCiils a moral tact The .principal .,prod'uct!;jftilis cXtetlorjty is oIcourse representation: asearly a~ Aescl.rylus~s play The l!ersl{ms the Orient is tr4})§f9_r_0l_e~" froma,Yery Iar distant and oft¢n(hrcateoing 0the!ness: into figures' tjjat are relative;!y.familiat (in Aeschylus',!; case, ~g Asiatic women). The dramatle inimcdiacy of representation in The Persians obscures the fact that theaudience is watching a highly artHidalenactmen~' of what a .non-Oriental 'has made ,into .a symbol for the >vl1oJe Orient, M.YflJ1aJysis (Jf the. Orien talist text therefore places emphasJs ~n the evidenee, which-Is byno means invisible, for S!-Ich represenea.tIOOS as tepresehtalions, not as "natural" depiqiQDS :of the orient. This evidence is' found just <!S'p;rominently in t,he; so-oalled 'tnithfi.Il text (histories, philolegiealenalyses, political .treatises) as in the avowe'dly-arUstic (l.e.iopenly illlaglnalive) text.·lJIel!!!Q.gsjo...l~0k ,at -are .style, fi.gura_9Lspeec_h, se~ting; pact;ah¥e- QeYkes~'historical and soelalelrcumsrances, "Qlthe correctness-of the representation nor it~ 1i9~lity to S,Oin¢g,reat original The exferiority of Uie representation ls~w.aysgdverned by some version of the- truism that if the _~3ient _cPuldtepr~ent itself, it would; since it ··cannpt,' the repi:es{!ntationdo:es the job, for the West, and iaute 'de mieu» for the - _poot Qrient."$ie konnen sich nicilt vertreten, sie inUss~n yertreten..werd"en,"a.s Marx wrote in The E'ig/lti{~llIh Bruma;tre" of L(}~I(s BO'i1apcirfe.

Another "reason for insisting upon exteriority is thai I believe it ri~,ed.f\ to be· made clear about cultural, ~.iS'9PuJse, and exchang~ wlthin a cuIturethat what is commoplycitculated by jf 'is: not '''trum''~ but representations, n hardly "~e:mQli&lrated a~~jn jhat ",!I}gl!~ i~1f is aJ}ighly._Q~ganizecLantJ . .@i;:od~d system. which employs many qevice~·tQ; __ (;:xp':res~,-trr!iiCa:te, exchange rnes sage1umsUnform a 6oW.s:p:r:esent , andsa for!tl,__In any illS:tance of at least written,uage, there is no such thing as a delivered presence, but-a re~preJ¢nce,or a representation,' The value,, 'strength,apparent veraCity' of a written statemearabouj tb<,< Odenl .thl;refQ~§ relies very little, . and cannot instrumentally depend. 00' .the Orient as such, On the· contrary, thewrittenS'tatemenf .is a presence to the reader by virtue of its jmving.e:xcliId¢:4,.displaCed, m.aqesuper.erogatory any such real Ihit1.gas "the Orient" Thus all



of Orientalism. stands forth and away' from the Orient: tli~L \ Orientallsm makes- sense at all depends more on-the' West tbftn- on

"1, the ~'orie~t,-:ana"'-tillS sense IS drrecUy~jna.ebledto various Western \eau11~Qf representation that make the Ocien~. visible, clear,

:"there;l in discourse about it. And these representations rely up.on knstitl1tio.ns;tradjtiQD!i,Co.nventions, agreed-upon. codes of unde~/sta1lcl:ingfor their effects, notapona.distant and 'amorphous Orient.

AT. he-difference between, represent'afions of the O.rient be.fore' the. /;/fast third of theeighteenth century a~d th~se a~er It (t~at is; those belongjtfg to what I 'call modern Orientalism) JS tha~ Lh~Ia~ge of l,,' representation .e~p~nded enormously i~ th~ Iater .penod. It IS tru~

'" --, that after William Jones and AnqueJI1-DI,I_FI<Holl, and after

\f Napoleon's Egyfllianexp'e'ditiou; Europe carne to- ,know t\l_~ ~d~nt more scientifically, to live in it with g-reaterauthtJ~l~y and discipline than' ever before. But what mattered to Europe was the expanded scope and the much greater refinement'given ifs' teduj~ques for receiving the. Or,ie:nt .. When around the (urn bf othe~lgh~~e?-th century the Orient definitively revealed theageot Its 13:nguagesthus outdatmg Hebrewlsdivine pedigree-it was a .. group of Europeans who made the discovery, passed it on to other scholars, and preserved the discove-ry in the .new scienee 91 Indo-European philology. Ane.w powerful science-fur viewing the, linguistie Orient wits bvdt,and with it, as Foucault has shown m The Order=o] Tlli-'igs, a whole web of related scientific interests. Similarly William Beckford; Byron, Goethe, and Hugo restructured the "Orient b.y their art and made its colors, lights, and people visible through their images, rhyfhms, anO' motifs. At most, the '''rea,l'' Orient provoked a w-riter to his vision; It -very. ra.rely.;guided it.

, O~isnLIespoflde6--m~ureJhaf,p'~dlt than to its putative object, which wa~ .. .pt(')~tlsed~L~est~ Thus ~rtenraIISiii"liiSDoth an internal consistency and a

highJy articulated set Qf relationships to the. dominant culture S-UTroundirrg it Mya,nalyses consequently try to' show fhe field's s~l~pe 'and internal organization, its pioneets, pat_riarcbal authorities, canonical texts, doxological ideas, exemplary ligures, its followers, elaborators, .and new authorities; I tty also to explain how Orientalism borrowed ana was frequently informed by' "strong"ideal)_, doctrines, and trends ruling the culture. there- was (and is) a

QfuguJ~:tiy C?J;i~Jlt. a Ff~l;ldfa~ Orient, a S_peD~I:ri~n Orient" a Da-rwinian Orient a racist Orient-s-and so on. Yet never .has there

-_ '. ,::. ....... ____..

III trod uctlon


been such a thing as a pUfe~ or unconditional, Odem:; similarly, never ba:s there been a nonmaterial form of Orientalism ... much less. , so inn.oe~nt as an "idea" of the Orient. In this underlying c~nVJctlOn and m uts ensuin.g methodological consequences do I differ from scholars who stu9Y tire history-of ideas. For the emphases and theexeoutive form, above all drem)t'eiial effectiveness, of statements made by Orientalist discourSe are pesslble in ways that any hermetic history of ideas tends completely to scant, Without those emphasesand thar mateciaieiIectiveness Orientalism would be> justanother .idea, wUI;)l,"e-a_s"it is and was much more than that. Therefore J set out to examine 110't only scholarly works but also works 'of literature, poHtiGal tracts; journalistic texts, travel hooks, r~li_9i~,us ~an~ phi1olo~ital.studies. In other words, my hybrid petspecuve IS broadly historical and "anthropological," giventhat I believe all texts to be worldlyand circumstantial in (of course) w;ays" ~hat va~ (rom genre to genre"and from histQrical period to !rlsto-ncal period.

'. Yet unlike Michel Foucault, tq whose work T am greatly in~'; debted, I do believe in the determining-imprint of individual writers upo~ the .()tberwise anonymous c:~ollective body Of texts constituting

a discursive formation Iike Odenta!.ism. The unity of the large ensemble of le]_ts I analyze is due in part to the fact that they f~e.filuenUy.Tefer to each other: Orientalisrn is after all 'a system.fer CJlmg works and authors. Edward William Lane's MaTi.flers and C_ustoms of the Modern g~)lptians was read and cited by such "d:iVer,se figures as Nerval, Flaubert, and Richard Burton. He was an 'authority whose use was an imperative for anyone\1fritiI\g or thinkmg about the Orient, not just ~bput Egypt: when .Nerval borrows :passa:~es verbatim from Modem Egyptia'lS- if is to. use Lane's authority to, assist him in describing village. scenes in Syria, not ~gy_p[. L~n~'s authority and the epportunities provided for Citing him disoriminately as wellas were there because Orientalism .. could give his tex] the. kind of distributive currency that be acq~ited. There is no way, however, of understanding La~el:s currency WIthout also 'understanding. the. peculiar features of, his text;.t1:tis ill equally true of Renan, Sacy, Lamartine, Schlt;gel, and

a grQup of other influenfial writers. Foucaulr believesthat Ingeneral

):.b~ indiYidua} texror author counts for vet;y Iittle.emplrlcally, in

the case .of'Orientalism (and perhaps nowhereelse) 1 ,find this not

to. be so. Accordingly my analyses employ close textual readings




! whose goal is to reveal the ~ialectic b~tweefl i~~ivi~ual teJ,i:t. or' , writer and the complex collective formation to which Ius work IS a


Yet even tQ.o:ugh it includes anample selection of writers, this book isetill far from a complete history or general account of Orientalism, Of this failing r am ve,ry conscious. The Iabric of as thick a discourse as Orientalism has 'survived and functioned in Western sbc·ielY because of-its .richness: all I ha ve done i~ ('o,delj.cri'be parts of that fabric at certain moments, and, merely to suggest tb,e existence of a larger whole, derailed, interesting" dotted with, fasemating ng!lres, texts, and events. I have consoled myself. with believing that this book is one installment: of several, and hope there.are scholars and-critics who might want to wrile others. There is - still'·a general essay to be writfen on jrnperialismand-culture; ather studies would .go more deeply into the connection between Orientalisrn and pe9agQgy" or into Italian, Dutch, German, and Swiss Orieatallsm, or into the, dynamic between scholarship and imaginative writing, or into the rela ti.0D,'lhip between edministcative :ide-as and .intellectual disdpliI)c.«perhaps the most important. task _;.Of all wouldbe toundertake studies in cpntemppr~ry alternatives to

_ ~rientaIi~m; to,. ask ho~ one C\U1 st~dy other cuJtur~s and. peoples -7from.3. llbertanan, or a' no;n:rep, re.sslve and. nonman~pulattve, B.erLapecttve. But then one would have to .rethink the whole complex problem of knowledge and power. These are all tasks left embarrassingiy incomplete: ih this study,

The last, perhaps self-flattering, observation on method t;~at 1 want to make here is that I have written this study With several mind, For students -of literature and criticism; Orientalismoffersa marvelous instance of the interrelaticns between society; history, and textuality: moreover, the cultural role played -by the Orient in the West eormects Orientalism with ideology, politics, and theIogicef powe-r, matters 01 relevance, I think, to the literary co~. mufiity. For contemporary students of the Orient, from university scholars to pblicymakets, I have written with two ends in mind, one; to present their inteHectli.a.1 genealogy to them' in a way that has not - been done; two, to criticize-with the hope or- stirring discussion-c-the often unquestioned assumptlons on which theirwork for the most part depends. For the general reaper, this study deals \Vi~h_ma:tters that alway-s compelartention, aU af them connected not only with We~.tem conceptions and treatments of the Other but a1S0 with the singularly important role played by Western culture



in what Vlc~ called th:ew-odu of nations. Lastly; for readers in the so-called TJlIr~ World, this study proposes itself as .a step towards an understanding not so much of Western politics and of thenonWestern wood in those politics as of the strength of Westerncultural discourse, a strength too often mistaken as merely deoorative or "superstructural," My hope is, to illustrate the fo(ntid~ble stIuct~reOf cultural domination and"sp'eeifically fOr formerly c0Iomzedpeopl~s, thedangers 1:!:nd temptations of ernp~oying this structure.upon themselves or uponothers,

The three Jong chapters and twelve shorter units into which this' V boo~ is divided are, intended ttl· facilitate exposition as much as P?sslbte. Chapter One, "The Scope of Orlentalism,' draws a large circle around all the dimensions of the subjed,botb in terms of his~Q.rical time and ,experlen.ces and. in terms of philosophical and polltlcal themes, Chapter TW0,"Orientalist structures and Re~tn~ctu:r;e·s," attempts to trace the development of modern Oriental- 15m .. ~t .: a ~rb:adlY' c,hron~logical description, ;;t.ndalso by the de~ctlPtJQ~ ef a s~t of devices co\um9!1 to the, work: of important poels, 'artists; and scholars. Chapter Three, "Orieuralism Now" begins where its predecessor left ,off, at around 1870. This is the period of great colonial expansion into the Orient, and ~ it culminates ~ World W~rlI. The 'v~r~ last section of ehallter Three characterizes the. _shift from British and French to American hegemony; I attempt there finalLy to sketch the present Intellectual and soeial .realities of Orientalism in the Urufed-States~

3. The p'tfrsqiW/ dimension, In thePrlspn Noiebooks Grarnsci S<lYs: "The starting-poin! of critical elabor;ti0n is th~ conscio~ne;s o~ wh.~at(ii;:te .reallyis, and is 'knowing, thyself' as a product of the l11~tO[JCal p~ocessto ~ate, which .has deposited in you an infinity oft[ace~; W~Jliout.leavmg an inventory." The only available English ~ransla.tion lnexpllcably leaves Gramsci's comment at that, whereas' ~ 'fact ?ramscFs Italian text concludes bYfldding. "therefore it 1S imperative-at the outset to compilesuch an inventery.?'"

Much of the' personal investment in this study derives from my'~warene~~ of being' an "Oriental" as aeliild growing up in tW9 British colonies, All of my education, ill: those. colonies (Palestine and ~gypt) andin the United States, has been Western, and yet th~t deep. e<lriyawareness has persisted. In many ways of Onent~lism has ~eenan attempt to inventory the traces upon me, the Oriental subject, of the culture whose domination has been so powerful a factor in the life of all Orientals, This is why fpr me the

Islamic Orient has had to be rheceneer of anenrion, Whether what :I have achieved is the inventory presc!,ibe,d by Gt~msci is not for me to judge, although 1 have felt it important to be con~ci,Q~s ·of tryin,g)o produce one, Along the way, as severely arid as:I'~tiQnally ss I hive been able; I have tried to maintain i.l critical ,CP,nscIOUSneSS; -as well as employing those instruments of historical, 'hunllll1istiC, and cultural research of,whieh myeducatiori has made me the Jo~tunate beneflciary. 1n none of that, however, have, I "ever I.ost hold of the- cultural reality of, the personal involvement In having been -cor:rstitufed as" "an Oriental."

- The historlcal circumstances making such a s:tudy possible are

fairly complex, and] can only list !hem schematically. here. Any~ne resident .in the Wes~ since the 19505, particularly IlL the United ,St~tes, wiil .have lived through __ .an era of ~x'traordin!lry turbulence in the relations ofEast arid No que.,will have failed to note how "East" has always signifie4 danger, and threat dtLTi:ng. this period,. even as it has meant the traditional Orient 'as well .as Russia. In tbe universities a growing establishment Cif area-studies programs and institutes has m· .study of t~: Orie~t a branch of national policy, Public affairs inthis country include a healtbyjnterest in the-Orient, as muc~ ~or its strategicand.ecoflbmic importance as for its tr.aditional exotll;:IS~, Tf ,t1~e w~rld has beco~e iI;n:me.diatelyaccessibk to a Western citizen livm~, III the electronrc age" the Orient (00 has drawn nearer to him, and IS ~ow less a ~rh perhaps th~ a ptace-crtsscroeed by Wes:ter,n, especially American,


. One aspect of the electronic, pestmodern w?~ld is that, the~e

has' been a' reinforcement bf the stereotypes by which the Orient IS viewed. Televisien, the films, and all the media's resources have forced information into more and morestandaroh;ed molds, So.Iar as the Orient is concerned, standaedization and cultural stereotyping have _intensified, the bold of-the ninefeenth-century academic and imaginativedemoI),oIogy of "the mysterious Orient."This ,is nowhere" more true than in. the ways, by which the Near East IS grasped, Three things have 'con)Dbllted te making even the simplest pefcep~ tien of the Arabs and Islaminto a highly politicized, almost raucous mattir: 'one" Ole history of -popul<J.t antl-Araband anti-Islamic' prejudice in the West, which is immediately reflected in the,hist~r~ of Orientalism; two, thestruggle; between, the Arabs, and Israeli Zionism, dad its efiec1s upon American Jews as wellas-upon both the. liberal culture and the population at .!a~ge;. three, the almost



toral absence of any cultural position rnaking It possible either to identify with or dispassionately to discuss the: Arabs or Islam. Furthermore, it hardly needssaying that because the, Middle East is now, so identified with Great Power politics, oil economics, ~nd the simple-minded dichotomy of freedom-loving, demoeratic.Israel and evil, totalitarian, and terroristic Arabs. the chances of anything, lik~ a clear view of what one talks about in talking about the Near East are depressingly small.

My own experiences of these, matters, are ill part whatmade me write this book, The life of an Arab Palestinian. in the West particularly in America, is disheartening. Th~re~X-ists here a~

almost unanimous consensus that P911tically he does not exist" and--' i..::v/ When·jt is allowed that he, does; it is either as, a nuisance or as an Oriental. The web of .raeismvcultutal stereotypes, political imperialism, dehumanizing i4eology in the Arab or the

Muslim is very strong iudeed,and if is tbis web which 'evf!ry Palestinian bas co.n:w to feelas Ills: uniquelypunishlng destiny, it

has made matters worse for him to remark that DO ,per~on academlc-

ally involved 'wirh the Near East-no Orientalist, that is-s-has.ever

ln. the. UJ)ited SUites -eulturally and politically identified _hJ~~elf w_h~ehea-rte'dlJ with the _ Arabs) certainly there have been identi-"} fi<;:atLo4s on some level, but they have never fakep an "acceptable" i has.liberal American identification with Zionism,and all too freq_uently they have been radically flawed - by .their association'

eirher with discreditedp9litical ,andecotfOfIlic interests (oil:" company and State Departmeat, Atabists, fer example} or with 'religion.

The nexus 'Qfknowledge and power creating "the Oriental" and

in a senseobliterariug himasa human being is, therefore not for

me an exclusively .academicrnatter, Yet it is all illte-17ectaal matter

of some very obvious importance.Thave been able to put to IJSe my humanistic and pelilital concerns for the analysis and description

of .a "ery )V,orIdly matter" the riserdevelopment, and consoildation

of Orientalisrn, T~o Often litenuur-e.:.a_nd culture -are presumed to be politically.~elfhistoricaUy, innocent; i.C has regularly seemed oth~-twise to rne, and certainly mystudy of Orientalism has con-, ijin~ed rile(a~d Lhope will con-vince my literary coll~gues) t1!.l!L so~!:.ty'3nQJi~y Q.ullUIe, can _?nly ?~.~uii~e~stoodandSluc!i~d Jl togejher..In addition, and by an almost inescapable logic, 1 have found myself. writing the history of a strange, secret sharer of Western 'anti-Semitism. That anti-Semitism and, asI have discussed



i~ .~ its Islamic branch, Orientalism resemble each other very closelyls .a hisJorical,cul~ural, .and political truth that needs only tobe mentioned to an Arab Palestinian for its irony to be perfectly understood, But w.hll.t I 'should Iikealso to have ,contributed herds a better understanding of.the way 9u1lw:]!tdo!ninafion has operated, If this "stimulates a new kind of dealing with the Orient, indeed if iteliminates the "Orient'tand "Occident" altogether, then we shall have advanced a little in the pro,cess 'Of what Raymond Williams has called the "unlearning" ,of "the .inherene ,dominative mode. "'11


The Scope of Orientalism

._ ',' J eg6nie,inljuiet . el~amllrtieuJ!,: de Europeens ... impatient d'ernployer les .ncuveaux.instrurnents de leur puissance . . . .

~Jean-Ba-!'tiste-Jos~ph Fourier, Pre/ace historique (180'9), Description de f'Egypte

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