The Rise Of Modern Orientalism Essay

1387 Words Oct 22nd, 2015 6 Pages
Ever since the early stages of contact, the East has seemed to have a bewitching appeal that has enraptured the interests and fascinations of Europe. Because cultures and societies found in the East were vastly dissimilar and detached from life in the West, the Orient served to represent a foil to Europe during the age of colonialism and imperialism – a foil so curious to Europeans, that the desire to obtain the Orient was fostered amid a time of unprecedented exploration and conquest. The birth of modern Orientalism transpired not only due to the European desire to possess a fabricated vision of the Orient, but also was supported by their self-reinforced sense of superiority, and permitted by the creation of a structure where the West assumed the role of the dominant power and the Orient as the submissive other. Throughout the 17th and 18th century, Western awareness of the Orient was fueled by an ingrained and immensely bias European imagination. The inward-looking process, which Europe used to analyze the East, was legitimized by the continent’s own egocentric understanding of the world during the age of exploration and colonization. As Edward Said put it in his essay Orientalism, “The imaginative examinations of things Oriental was based more or less exclusively upon a sovereign Western consciousness out of whose unchallenged centrality an Oriental world emerged.” This vainglorious point of view had produced a divide between reality and fantasy. In effect, the…

Related Documents