Out Of Place

A Memoir

Edward W. Said

Published: 21 September 2000
Paperback, B Format
129x198mm, 320 pages
ISBN: 9781862073708


Edward Said experienced both British and American imperialism as the old Arab order crumbled in the late 1940s and early 1950s. This account of his early life reveals how it influenced his books Orientalism and Culture and Imperialism. Edward Said was born in Jerusalem and brought up in Cairo, spending every summer in the Lebanese mountain village of Dhour el Shweir, until he was 'banished' to America in 1951. This work is a mixture of emotional archaeology and memory, exploring an essentially irrecoverable past. As ill health sets him thinking about endings, Edward Said returns to his beginnings in this personal memoir of his ferociously demanding 'Victorian' father and his adored, inspiring, yet ambivalent mother.

About the author

Image of Edward W. Said

Edward Said (1935-2003) was one of the world's most influential literary and cultural critics. Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University, he was the author of twenty-two books, including Orientalism, Culture and Imperialism and Beginnings. He was also a music critic, opera scholar, pianist and the most eloquent spokesman for the Palestinian cause in the West. More about the author


Out of Place is an intensely moving act of reclamation and understanding, a portrait of a transcultural and often painful upbringing written with wonderful vividness and unsparing honesty. To read it is to come to know [Said's] family and his younger self as closely as we know characters in literature, to be shown, intimately and unforgettably, what it has meant in the last half-century to be a Palestinian’ Salman Rushdie



Out of Place recreates the sights and sounds, the smells and shouts, of a lost world, as Gunter Grass did for Danzig or Joyce for turn-of-the-century Dublin ... One of the greatest cities of our age has produced a work of art, one of the noblest autobiographies of our time’

‘A fine elegy and a scrupulous reckoning with the past’ Marina Warner, Books of the Year

‘Edward Said is among the truly important intellectuals of our century. His examined life, from the tragic and triumphant perspective of a mortal illness, is superbly worth living. I know I shall not read an autobiography to match this one for many years’ Nadine Gordimer

‘Said is capable of writing like a gifted novelist, like a Palestinian Proust’

‘This delicate and candid memoir by a very private man moved me enormously. Written in "counterpoint" to his illness (leukaemia) at times when he was recovering from chemotherapy, its importance may be measured by the ferocity of the public attempt which preceded and accompanied publication to discredit him as an authentic Palestinian voice’ Ahdaf Soueif

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