A great deal of stimulating and valuable discussion (as well as some indignation and hot air) has been stimulated by Edward Said, whose provocative study of
Orientalism: Western Conceptions of the Orient appeared twenty years ago. This present book will, we believe, be recognized as a worthy addition to the many attempts that have since been made to sift the intrinsic and ingrained attitudes of West to East. The fifteen articles in
Oriental Prospects: Western Literature and the Lure of the East cover literature from the Renaissance through the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries to the modern period, some in pragmatic accounts of responses to and uses of experiences of the Orient and its cultural attitudes and artefacts, others contending more theoretically with issues that Edward Said has raised. Despite all the misunderstanding, prejudice and propaganda in the scholarly and literary depiction of the Orient still today as in the past, what emerges from this wide-range of articles is that no species of literary text or academic study can appear without risking the accusation of escapist exoticism or cultural and economic exploitation; and thus regrettably masking the essential and vital significance of the political and the real and imaginative trading between East and West.
Illustrations. Prefatory Note. Introduction: Oriental Prospects. Ton HOENSELAARS: The Elizabethans and the Turk at Constantinople. Garland CANNON: Sir William Jones and Literary Orientalism. El HABIB BENRAHHAL SERGHINI: William Beckford's Symbolic Appropriation of the Oriental Context. C.C. BARFOOT: English Romantic Poets and the Free-Floating Orient. Paul PELCKMANS: Walter Scott's Orient:
The Talisman. Gerard TERMORSHUIZEN: In Search of the Noble Savage: Travellers' Accounts in Old Indies Government Journals (1816-1830). Robert DRUCE: The Heathen Chinee and the Yellow Peril: Pseudo-Chinoiserie in Popular Fiction. Joep LEERSSEN: Irish Studies and
Orientalism: Ireland and the Orient. Michael BEARD: Recitatif. Willem OTTERSPEER: The Vulnerabilities of an Honest Broker: Edward Said and the Problems of Theory. Ieme van der POEL:
Orientalism and the French Left: The Case of
Tel Quel and China. William SCHOUPPE: Orientalist Visions and Revisions: Edward Said's
Orientalism and Representations of the Orient in Paul Bowles. John THIEME: Cartographical Revisionism in the New Literatures in English. Elleke BOEHMER: Post-Colonial Literary Studies: A Neo-Orientalism? Edward D. GRAHAM: Unquiet on the Western Front: The Orientalism of Contemporary Chinese-American Women Writers. Notes on Contributors. Index.