ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Enigmas of Exile

The idea of ?exile? formed the principal narrative behind Edward Said?s life and work. In Said?s own words, his early life was a series of displacements; later in life, he came to see western culture as fundamentally a creation of exiles. But to understand the idea of exile as Said construed it, would entail a ?contrapuntal? reading of it. For Said, exile was a ?permanent? state and not as conventionally understood, a transient stage. While this contrasted ironically with his empathy for the Palestinian cause ? a nation of people in exile ? for Said, the exilic mind was one that refuses to habituate itself to academic pieties, to accepted readings of texts, to the satisfactions of power and to the comforts of surrender to some transcendent force.

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