The reasons for writing Culture and Imperialism
Question: What is the Background of “Culture and Imperialism”?
Or, what are the reasons for which Said has written “Culture and Imperialism”?
“Culture and Imperialism” published in 1993 is a collection of essays by Edward Said (1935-2003). This was followed by his highly influential “Orientalism”, published in 1978. In his series of essays, the author attempts to identify the connection between imperialism and culture in the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries. In the “Introduction”, Mr. Said himself describes the reasons and resources for which he is going to write his internationally acclaimed book.
Limitation of “Orientalism”
In his internationally acclaimed book Orientalism, Edward Said suggests that a general essay on the relationship between culture and empire has not yet been written. He composes “Culture and Imperialism” as an attempt to expand the “logics” of orientalism in order to describe a more general pattern of relationship between the western imperialists and their overseas territories.
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To expose the hidden meaning of culture
In order to point out the furtive two-fold facets of culture, Said writes “Culture and Imperialism”. According to him, culture means two things from the surface and inner perspectives.
The secret strength of the imperialists
It is surprising and praiseworthy that Edward Said is the first mammoth critic who discovers the power of literature to sustain imperialism. Since literature is the mirror of society, he critically focuses on the French and English literature of the 19th and 20th which displayed the imperialistic experiences throughout the world but especially in Africa, India, Australia, Caribbean, Ireland, Latin America.
Ethical point of view
Being a humanitarian, Mr. Said forced to formulate “Culture and Imperialism”. He focuses on the challenges of imperialism and confidently declares that imperialism must always encounter resistance which creates conflict and destruction. So, he preaches that it is better to refrain than reign. And the people of the third world have to be well-conceived and united to establish peace and progress.
In termination, it can be asserted though it is difficult to accept Edward Said starkly, it is undoubted that his critical power has brought about a revolution in the field of criticism. And one can get a vast vista of the secret sources of imperialism by reading his “Culture and Imperialism”.