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In the Chair

Edward Said, 17 July 1997

Glenn Gould: The Ecstasy and the Tragedy of Genius 
by Peter Ostwald.
Norton, 368 pp., $29.95, May 1997, 0 393 04077 1
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When the Music Stops: Managers, Maestros and the Corporate Murder of Classical Music 
by Norman Lebrecht.
Simon and Schuster, 400 pp., £7.99, July 1997, 0 671 01025 5
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... Op. 96 and the Schoenberg Fantasie, interspersed with discussion between the two of them. Menuhin said that Gould was a truly fantastic musician but when it came to the filming of their discussion the pianist had insisted on writing not only his own part but his partner’s as well. ‘That way nothing can go wrong,’ he ...

The Morning After

Edward Said, 21 October 1993

... on the national rights of the Palestinian people as well as Palestinian self-determination. Vance said that the US would immediately recognise the PLO and inaugurate negotiations between it and Israel. Arafat categorically turned the offer down, as he did similar offers. Then the Gulf War occurred, and because of the disastrous positions it took then, the PLO ...

Goodbye to Mahfouz

Edward Said, 8 December 1988

... Naguib Mahfouz’s achievement as the greatest living Arab novelist and first Arab winner of the Nobel Prize has in small but significant measure now retrospectively vindicated his unmatched regional reputation, and belatedly given him recognition in the West. For of all the major literatures and languages, Arabic is by far the least known and the most grudgingly regarded by Europeans and Americans, a huge irony given that all Arabs regard the immense literary and cultural worth of their language as one of their principal contributions to the world ...
Wagner in Performance 
edited by Barry Millington and Stewart Spencer.
Yale, 214 pp., £19.95, July 1992, 0 300 05718 0
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Wagner: Race and Revolution 
by Paul Lawrence Rose.
Faber, 304 pp., £20, June 1992, 9780571164653
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Wagner Handbook 
edited by Ulrich Müller and Peter Wapnewski, translated by John Deathridge.
Harvard, 711 pp., £27.50, October 1992, 0 674 94530 1
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Richard Wagner’s Visit to Rossini and An Evening at Rossini’s in Beau-Séjour 
by Edmond Michotte, translated by Herbert Weinstock.
Quartet, 144 pp., £12.95, November 1992, 9780704370319
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... The bewildering variety of interests and standards in Wagner scholarship (or what passes for it) is congenitally resistant to study.’ Thus John Deathridge, the leading Wagner scholar of the English-speaking world, at the beginning of his chapter on Wagner research in the Wagner Handbook. It so learned and au courant a scholar as Deathridge is daunted by trying to make sense of Wagner research and interpretation, what about the rest of us? For not only was Wagner both contemptuous of history in general and a constant re-maker of his own history, but the enormous range of materials that have survived him (including, of course, his 15 Operas) has made almost any relatively straightforward approach to him impossible ...

Between Worlds

Edward Said: A memoir, 7 May 1998

... that is, acquired – and, in Conrad’s rather special case, admired home. His friends all said of Conrad that he was very contented with the idea of being English, even though he never lost his heavy Polish accent and his quite peculiar moodiness, which was thought to be very un-English. Yet the moment one enters his writing the aura of ...

On ‘Fidelio’

Edward Said, 30 October 1997

... of his Bonn years after the relatively cosy time he had been having in Vienna. If Leonore could be said to spring from that self which continually searches for the ideal in the face of fear, Fidelio, by contrast, represents Beethoven’s more settled, static response to tyranny and injustice, freedom and self-sacrifice.’ Leonore’s effectiveness, Gardiner ...

Cosmic Ambition

Edward Said: J.S. Bach, 19 July 2001

Johann Sebastian Bach: The Learned Musician 
by Christoph Wolff.
Oxford, 599 pp., £25, March 2000, 9780198165347
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... The core repertory of Western classical music is dominated by a small number of composers, mostly German and Austrian, mostly of the 18th and 19th centuries. In their work, perfection – of form, melody, harmony and rhythm – is common; in fact it occurs in their music with a frequency unimaginable in painting (except perhaps for Raphael) or literature ...

Palestinians under Siege

Edward Said: Putting Palestine on the map, 14 December 2000

... of Palestinian suffering, was stage-managed by the Palestinian Authority. The Authority, it was said, had planted the boy’s father in front of Israeli gun positions and moved the French TV crew that recorded the killing into position nearby – all to prove an ideological point.Misrepresentation has made it almost impossible for the American public to ...

Thoughts on Late Style

Edward Said, 5 August 2004

... Both in art and in our general ideas about the passage of human life there is assumed to be a general abiding timeliness. We assume that the essential health of a human life has a great deal to do with its correspondence to its time – the fitting together of the two – and is therefore defined by its appropriateness or timeliness. Comedy, for instance, seeks its material in untimely behaviour, an old man falling in love with a young woman (May in December), as in Molière and Chaucer, a philosopher acting like a child, a well person feigning illness ...

Lost between War and Peace

Edward Said, 5 September 1996

... most of them involving the denial or downgrading of the others. I discovered that the line of Said anti-Jerusalem feeling persisted unbroken in Wadie, who comes to the city to translate for the Jerusalem Media and Communication Centre (JMCC), an enterprising Palestinian outfit that produces daily press digests, reports and translations for journalists and ...

Permission to narrate

Edward Said, 16 February 1984

Israel in Lebanon: The Report of the International Commission 
by Sean MacBride.
Ithaca, 282 pp., £4.50, March 1984, 0 903729 96 2
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Sabra et Chatila: Enquête sur un Massacre 
by Amnon Kapeliouk.
Seuil, 117 pp.
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Final Conflict: The War in the Lebanon 
by John Bulloch.
Century, 238 pp., £9.95, April 1983, 0 7126 0171 6
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Lebanon: The Fractured Country 
by David Gilmour.
Robertson, 209 pp., £9.95, June 1983, 0 85520 679 9
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The Tragedy of Lebanon: Christian Warlords, Israeli Adventures and American Bunglers 
by Jonathan Randal.
Chatto, 320 pp., £9.50, October 1983, 0 7011 2755 4
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God cried 
by Tony Clifton and Catherine Leroy.
Quartet, 141 pp., £15, June 1983, 0 7043 2375 3
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Beirut: Frontline Story 
by Salim Nassib, Caroline Tisdall and Chris Steele-Perkins.
Pluto, 160 pp., £3.95, March 1983, 0 86104 397 9
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The Fateful Triangle: Israel, the United States and the Palestinians 
by Noam Chomsky.
Pluto, 481 pp., £6.95, October 1983, 0 86104 741 9
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... in Jerusalem more or less retracting his remarks from Beirut: what he had seen there, he now said, was a ‘mistake’, Israel did not intend the city’s siege but had ‘bumbled into it’. Commenting on this volte-face, Richard Poirier wrote in Raritan Review that ‘the feelings aroused in Chancellor (and in millions of viewers presumably) by the ...

On Edward Said

Michael Wood: Edward Said, 23 October 2003

... A friend asks me how old Edward Said was when he died. I pause, do the little sum, and say: ‘He was 67, a few months older than I was.’ Then I catch the weird tense. ‘Than I am.’ Both tenses are true, of course. I’m still 67, but a piece of me is past. I don’t like to use the word ‘unbearable’ because I’m conscious that too many people are bearing what seem to be unbearable hardships every day ...

What nations are for

Tom Nairn, 8 September 1994

The Politics of Dispossession: The Struggle for Palestinian Self-Determination, 1969-1994 
by Edward Said.
Chatto, 400 pp., £20, July 1994, 0 7011 6135 3
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Representations of the Intellectual: The 1993 Reith Lectures 
by Edward Said.
Vintage, 90 pp., £4.99, July 1994, 0 09 942451 7
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... recompose. In the dominant storm-centre itself a certain calmness could prevail: a false calm, as Edward Said repeatedly says in these books, founded on arrogance, ignorance and superior military force. The metropolitan view was that Progress was greater than its bearers and destined to triumph, regardless of the particular language it spoke. The ...

Off the edge

Frank Kermode, 7 November 1991

Musical Elaborations 
by Edward Said.
Chatto, 128 pp., £20, October 1991, 0 7011 3809 2
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... or ill, been faithful (in their fashion) to that intention: but it was an enlivening idea to ask Edward Said to talk about music as well, or instead. Said is a good enough pianist to understand what the professionals are up to. He knows a great deal more about music than most amateurs, and argues persuasively that it ...

Making peace

Dan Gillon, 3 April 1980

The Question of Palestine 
by Edward Said.
Routledge, 265 pp., £7.50, February 1980, 0 7100 0498 2
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... which have been reached, particularly the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty. In his new book Edward Said tries to move the discussion beyond the narrow and sterile polemicism of the past. In many respects his attempt is successful. His writing is prejudiced and bitter and at times downright misleading. Yet he is able to rise above that and deal ...

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