OCCIDENT, n. The part of the world lying west (or east) of the Orient… whose principal industries are murder and cheating, which they are pleased to call “war” and “commerce.” These, also, are the principal industries of the Orient… Ambrose Bierce


Dangerous knowledge : orientalism and its discontents  Robert Irwin  Woodstock, NY : Overlook Press, 2006  Hardcover. 1st ed. and printing. 409 p. ; 24 cm. Includes bibliographical references and index. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG/VG

The publication of Edward Said’s Orientalism in 1981 called into question the entire history of the Western study of Islamic culture, condemning this scholarly tradition as one that presented inaccurate and deliberately demeaning representations of Islamic peoples and institutions so much so that the words Oriental and Orientalist came to take on the most negative connotations.

But what is Orientalism, who were the Orientalists, and how did Western scholars of Islamic culture come to be vilified as insidious agents of European imperialism. In Robert Irwin s groundbreaking new history, he answers this question with a detailed and colorful story of the motley crew of intellectuals and eccentrics who brought an understanding of the Islamic world to the West.

In a narrative that ranges from an analysis of Ancient Greek perceptions of the Persians to a portrait of the first Western European translators of Arabic to the contemporary Muslim world s perceptions of the Western study of Islam, Irwin affirms the value of the Orientalists legacy: not only for the contemporary scholars who have disowned it, but also for anyone committed to fostering the cross-cultural understanding which could bridge the real or imagined gulf between Islamic and Western civilization.

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