Reviews

Edward Said - The Charisma of Criticism

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"This is a brave book, written with gusto—a student from Edward Said’s early days at Columbia cuts through the myth and puts together the ‘real maestro,’ with respect, sympathy and meticulous attention to detail."

— Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Columbia University

"The late Edward Said is often pictured as a passionate fighter for radical causes. But in this provocative and eminently readable book, H. Aram Veeser reveals a Said who was far more divided than anyone thought."

— Gerald Graff, author of Clueless in Academe

"Veeser has written an absolutely splendid hybrid of a book: part intellectual biography, part personal reminiscence, part homage, and part scholarly critique. As insouciant in its observations as Edward Said was in his person, Veeser’s book treats Said’s Princetonian polish as a central element of his thought and not simply as elegant haberdashery. Said’s outsized scholarly ambition and rhetorical cleverness are more than matched in Veeser’s pithy account by his unpredictability and penchant for self-contradiction, all of them hallmarks of the charismatic hero who refuses to play by the rules that govern common mortals. We desperately need just this sort of informed, critical, and yet balanced approach to our intellectual stars, rather than the hagiography so often demanded and supplied. Said, oppositional critic to the bitter end, deserves no less."

— Vincent P. Pecora, University of Utah

"Part biography, part memoir, part analysis and even part critique, Veeser's book is a fitting medium for addressing the life and work of a man whose achievements and aspirations far exceeded what could be contained in any one category or even series of categories. No one who knew Said will doubt the attribution of charisma—and those who didn't will get a good sense of it from this book. "

— David Simpson, University of California, Davis