Orientalism, By Malcolm H. Kerr Essay

1489 Words Dec 7th, 2016 6 Pages
Some critics have been fairly harsh with their views on Orientalism, even going so far as to “[accuse] Said of perpetuating the same Eastern stereotypes for which he has faulted the Western imperialist” (“Edward W. Said” 336). Others simply focused on the imperfections in his arguments, stating that they were weak or could have had more impact (336). In his review of Orientalism in 1980, Malcolm H. Kerr states that “Edward Said, a literary critic loaded with talent, has certainly made a splash [with Orientalism], but with this sort of effort he is not going to win any major races” (544). He goes on to explain:
The book contains many excellent sections and scores many telling points, but it is spoiled by overzealous prosecutorial argument in which Professor Said, in his eagerness to spin too large a web, leaps at conclusions and tries to throw everything but the kitchen sink into a preconceived frame of analysis. In charging the entire tradition of European and American Oriental studies with the sins of reductionism and caricature, he commits precisely the same error. (544)
Ultimately, Kerr was sympathetic to Said’s book, stating that it was a book that “in principle needed to be written,” but that it simply did not argue well enough or carry points to their conclusions (544). He was not alone in this criticism, either, as many critics “echoed a common perception of scholars who found the book difficult to read but at the same time praised its message as extremely necessary”…

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