Objecting to Said

  • Stefano Brugnolo University of Sassari
Keywords: Theory of discourse, Ethnic stereotypes, Return of repressed, Unconsciuos logic, Identification with the Other’


This essay criticizes Said’s tendency to assimilate many different textual typologies under the “guilty sign” of Orientalism. Said's definition of Orientalism is ”a Western style for dominating, restructuring and exerting authority over the Orient”. In other words, Said makes no distinction between literature and ideology and he considers both as expressions of the so-called “orientalist discourse”. This kind of approach can be criticized if we adopt the hypothesis that great literature has always deeply contradicted the ideology it appears to refer to superficially. On the basis of this general hypothesis,we can conclude that orientalist literary works, even when based on colonialist and even racist assumptions, always disprove Western stereotypes and prejudices, by surpassing predictable and manichean dichotomies (such as East/West and Black/White), proposing Uutopian and universal visions of human relationships.


Author Biography

Stefano Brugnolo, University of Sassari

Stefano Brugnolo teaches theory of literature at the University of Pisa. His studies aim to interpret literary works in light of unconscious logic. He has published numerous books and articles on different subjects, authors, and textual genres. He is the author of La tradizione dell’umorismo nero (1994); L’alchimia imperfetta: saggio sull’opera di Joris-Karl Huysmans, (2001); La letterarietà dei discorsi scientifici: come pensavano e come scrivevano Hegel, Tocqueville, Marx, Darwin, Freud, (2001); and  “Il giorno del giudizio” di Salvatore Satta e la letteratura delle periferie, (2004).


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Said, Edward, Cultura e imperialismo: letteratura e consenso nel progetto coloniale dell'Occidente, Roma, Gamberetti, 1998 (1993).

How to Cite
Brugnolo, S. (2011). Objecting to Said. Between, 1(2). https://doi.org/10.13125/2039-6597/305