Edward Said was born in Jerusalem in 1935. In 1951 he attended a private preparatory high school in Massachusetts, America and he went on to study at Princeton University for his BA and at Yale for his MA and PhD. He became University Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University. Said was bestowed with numerous honorary doctorates from universities around the world and twice received Columbia's Trilling Award and the Wellek Prize of the American Comparative Literature Association. He is best known for describing and critiquing 'Orientalism' and his book on the subject was published in 1978. He died in 2003.
From the Iranian hostage crisis through the Gulf War and the World Trade Centre bombing, the West has been haunted by a spectre called ‘Islam’. As portrayed by the news media – and by a chorus of government, academic and corporate experts – ‘Islam’ is synonymous with terrorism and religious hysteria. At the same time, Islamic countries use Islam to justify unrepresentative and often oppressive regimes.
In this landmark work, for which he has written a new introduction, one of our foremost public thinkers examines the origins and repercussions of the media’s monolithic images of Islam. Combining political commentary with literary criticism, Edward Said reveals the hidden assumptions and distortions of fact that underlie even the most ‘objective’ coverage of the Islamic world.