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Edward Said and the (Mis)Fortunes of the Public Intellectual

From: College Literature
Volume 40, Number 4, Fall 2013
pp. 52-73 | 10.1353/lit.2013.0052



This essay describes Edward Said’s career as a public intellectual, focusing in the main on his journalistic interventions in newspapers and magazines rather than on his academic career. I argue that Said’s reputation for worldliness should rest equally on his role as a citizen who articulated dissent in the interests of revitalizing American democracy. I conclude by considering why and how we need his vision of political and moral conduct more than ever in these perilous times.