Orientalism : Western Conceptions of the Orient, Paperback

Orientalism : Western Conceptions of the Orient Paperback

Part of the Penguin Modern Classics series

4 out of 5 (2 ratings)


For generations now, Edward W. Said's "Orientalism" has defined our understanding of colonialism and empire, and this "Penguin Modern Classics" edition contains a preface written by Said shortly before his death in 2003.

In this highly-acclaimed work, Edward Said surveys the history and nature of Western attitudes towards the East, considering orientalism as a powerful European ideological creation - a way for writers, philosophers and colonial administrators to deal with the 'otherness' of eastern culture, customs and beliefs.

He traces this view through the writings of Homer, Nerval and Flaubert, Disraeli and Kipling, whose imaginative depictions have greatly contributed to the West's romantic and exotic picture of the Orient.

Drawing on his own experiences as an Arab Palestinian living in the West, Said examines how these ideas can be a reflection of European imperialism and racism.

Edward W. Said (1935-2003) was a Palestinian-American cultural critic and author, born in Jerusalem and educated in Egypt and the United States.

His other books include "The Question of Palestine", "Culture and Imperialism" and "Out of Place: A Memoir". If you enjoyed "Orientalism", you might like Frantz Fanon's "The Wretched of the Earth", also available in "Penguin Modern Classics". "Stimulating, elegant and pugnacious". ("Observer"). "Beautifully patterned and passionately argued". ("New Statesman"). "Very exciting ...his case is not merely persuasive, but conclusive". (John Leonard, "New York Times"). "Magisterial". (Terry Eagleton).


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Regional studies
  • ISBN: 9780141187426



Free Home Delivery

on all orders

Pick up orders

from local bookshops


Showing 1 - 2 of 2 reviews.

Review by

A classic for anyone researching the representation of the East in Western literature. Since its publication Said's discourse has come in for some criticism, but it has widely been taken onboard in postcolonial studies and has been applied to many other subject areas and geographical regions. Very thought-provoking. As relevant today as it was at its first publication in 1978.

Review by

As I said before I was first introduced to Said as a first year history student in University through this very book. It is very interesting and worth taking the time out to read it but it is a difficult book to get into. This is eased somewhat by the updated preface, introduction and afterword sections which marry into the text quite well. The book is well referenced; as one would expect of a Said work, and he sets out to challenge the theories of Orientalism expostulated by numerous Orientalists of various hues and from different countries over the centuries. Said critically analyses how the Orient has been viewed through Western eyes over the centuries and how their attitudes towards issues such as sex, religion, culture, lifestyle and customs have changed over the centuries together with assessing the impact since the USA has become a significant international player. The substantial criticism that this book generated and the accusations that were levelled at its author, both numerous and spurious since its publication, are a very good reason to acquire it also.

Also by Edward W. Said   |  View all

Also in the Penguin Modern Classics series   |  View all