Magazine June 1, 2021, Issue

How Edward Said Reoriented the West

From the cover of Places of Mind: A Life of Edward Said (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux)
Places of Mind: A Life of Edward Said, by Timothy Brennan (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 464 pp., $35)

At the time of Edward Said’s death in 2003, after a long battle with leukemia, “he was probably the best-known intellectual in the world,” noted one commentator. He was an extraordinarily influential literary critic and theorist at Columbia University, but also a prominent spokesman for the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Palestinian National Council, not only as a translator for Yasser Arafat but as a policy-maker. A Palestinian American, he was a go-between for the U.S. State Department and the Palestinians in the late 1970s and early 1980s, under both the Carter and the Reagan administration. During the Middle Eastern

This article appears as “Reorienting the West” in the June 1, 2021, print edition of National Review.

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M. D. Aeschliman’s The Restoration of Man: C. S. Lewis and the Continuing Case against Scientism has been recently published in an updated edition in the U.S. (Seattle: Discovery Institute Press) and in France (Paris: Pierre Téqui). Professor emeritus of education at Boston University, he holds degrees, including a doctorate, from Columbia and taught there, at Boston University, and in other universities in the U.S., Italy, and Switzerland until his recent retirement.

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