Edward W. Said: Mondanité et performance

Translated title of the contribution: Edward W. Said: Worldiness and Performance

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Although Edward Said is best known as the author of Orientalism (1978) and Culture and Imperialism (1993), the extent to which these works rely on the rest of his œuvre is often overlooked. This article tries to right the balance by presenting a critical genealogy of certain Saidian keywords. The argument centres on the equation Text = Worldliness + Performance. Worldliness, Said’s answer to political commitment, calls for an understanding of literature in the socio-political conditions of its production and reception. Performance, on the other hand, connotes the ways in which the literary text both stands out against this worldly background as it alludes to other literary texts and ideas. In the space opened up by these two variables other concepts from Said’s lexicon – secular criticism, tory anarchy, invention – come into play to re-define literature and criticism in both aesthetic and political terms.
Translated title of the contributionEdward W. Said: Worldiness and Performance
Original languageFrench
Pages (from-to)53-67
JournalSociétés et représentations
Issue number37
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jul 2014


  • Edward Said
  • literary theory and criticism

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