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Reading Arabia

British Orientalism in the Age of Mass Publication, 1880-1930

by Andrew C. Long

Publication Year: 2013

In “Reading Arabia,” Long explores the change in the tradition of British Orientalism in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. He examines the role of mass print culture, including travel literature, newspapers, and silent films, in the construction of the British public’s perception of “Arabia” (a region that extended from Morocco through Syria).

Published by: Syracuse University Press

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. i-vi


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pp. vii-viii


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pp. ix-x

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pp. xi-xiv

This book was written over the course of a rough period in my life, in both a personal and professional sense, though it was always a resource of hope. I especially enjoyed the research process, which admittedly was a kind of escape as I was lost in thought in various libraries and archives, working with compelling documents and...

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pp. 1-30

This book is a study of the Middle East—specifically, the portrayal of the Arab world in the British cultural imaginary during the period 1880–1930. I focus on the depictions of this time and place through close readings of work by Captain Richard Francis Burton,...

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1 The Two Tangents of British Orientalism

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pp. 31-74

In the introduction I showed how the 1880s were a significant period in British history and culture. In Orientalist letters, two figures emerged from this period to popular acclaim, albeit not entirely in the moment: Richard Francis Burton and Charles Montagu Doughty....

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2 Khartoum Nightmare

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pp. 75-98

The verse above was written in 1897, one year before Kitchener “avenged” Gordon—as the victory was then characterized—at Omdurman, where the Islamic nationalist Mahdi Army of the Sudanese Caliphate was systematically wiped out with the heavy use of Gatling...

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3 A Refusal and a Traversal

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pp. 99-129

The work of the well-known late-Victorian-era writer, adventurer, and established commentator on North Africa, Robert Cunninghame Graham, is distinguished by his rejection of discursive forms of the time.1 Cunninghame Graham resolutely refused to accept and then...

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4 Orientalism from Within and Without

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pp. 130-165

Marmaduke Pickthall is a most interesting figure among British writers of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, a period punctuated by the Great War. In literature, the era was marked by the rise of what is now known as the modernist movement. Pickthall,...

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5 The Arabist as Abject Modern

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pp. 166-194

An earlier version of this chapter, titled “Th e Hidden and the Visible in British Orientalism,” was originally conceived with the intention of discussing the “visible” Arabist, T. E. Lawrence, and the “hidden” double agent, Harry St. John Philby, father of Kim Philby,...

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pp. 195-218

Orientalism is pervasive in the culture and everyday life of modern Britain. Th is has certainly been so since the 1880s during the British occupation of Egypt and the Sudan War. Yet Orientalism in this sense is not about foreign policy debates, human rights, or the fear of a clash...


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pp. 219-238


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pp. 239-252


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pp. 253-272

E-ISBN-13: 9780815652328
E-ISBN-10: 0815652321
Print-ISBN-13: 9780815633235
Print-ISBN-10: 0815633238

Page Count: 264
Illustrations: 4 black and white
Publication Year: 2013