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Old Challenges and New Horizons in English and American Studies

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Edited By Anna Walczuk and Wladyslaw Witalisz

The volume is a collection of essays representative of the wide focus of research encouraged and coordinated by the Polish Association for the Study of English (member of ESSE). Articles selected for the volume deal with works of poetry, drama and prose written in English and invite the reader to view them in the context of intercultural and intertextual discourse. Authors discussed in the articles include: John Redford, William Shakespeare, John Dryden, James Macpherson, John Clare, Anna Radcliffe, Horace Walpole, George Gordon Byron, Charles Dickens, G.K. Chesterton, T.S. Eliot, Virginia Woolf, T.F. Powys, Patrick White, Brian Friel, Brendan Behan, Philip Roth, Alice Walker, Chaim Potok, Ian McEwan, Kiran Desai, and Sarah Kane. In many of the essays the reader will notice a meta-discursive argument on the interplay between tradition and innovation in English studies.
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Orientalism Reoriented: Old Challenges and New Horizons for Edward Said’s Critical Legacy

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Stankomir Nicieja

Uniwersytet w Opolu

Writing from today’s perspective, it seems practically impossible to overestimate the influence of Edward Said’s Orientalism on contemporary literary theory (Lockman 2010: 184; Moosavinia et al. 2011). Although less sympathetic critics were quick to point that Orientalism (1978) was one of the author’s weakest efforts (Huggan 2005: 124); the book had spawned an entire critical industry and subsequently transformed Said’s status from a “distinguished but unexacting academic” (Ashcroft and Ahluwalia 2008: 3) to the pre-eminent, globally renowned scholar (Ashcroft and Ahluwalia 2008: 150; Lockman: 184). Few people appeared more surprised at such state of affairs than the author himself. Although at first Said struggled to secure a respectable publisher for his book, he could later witness a true explosion of interest in the ideas and insights included there. Writing shortly before his premature death in 2003, Said conceded: “[I]t is still a source of amazement to me that Orientalism continues to be discussed and translated all over the world, in thirty-six languages [including Arabic, Hebrew, Polish and Vietnamese]. […] In any case, it gives me great pleasure to note as an author who had never dreamed of any such happy fate for his work that interest in what I tried to do in my book hasn’t completely died down” (Said 2003: xii-xiii).

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