Europe and Its Others in Five Exemplary Lives
Intellectual History of the Modern Age
Published by: University of Pennsylvania Press, Inc.
288 pages, 152.00 x 229.00 x 0.00 mm
- ISBN: 9780812247619
- Published: December 2015
Richard Burton. T. E. Lawrence. Louis Massignon. Chinua Achebe. Orhan Pamuk. The remarkable quintet whose stories make up Jerrold Seigel's Between Cultures are all people who, without ever seeking to exit from the ways of life into which they had been born, devoted themselves to exploring a second cultural identity as an intrinsic part of their first. Richard Burton, the British traveler and writer, sought to experience the inner life of Islam by making the pilgrimage to Mecca in the guise of a Muslim in 1853. T. E. Lawrence, famously known as Lawrence of Arabia, recounted his tortuous ties to the Arab uprising against Turkish rule in his celebrated Seven Pillars of Wisdom. Louis Massignon was a great, deeply introspective, and profoundly troubled French Catholic scholar of Islam. Chinua Achebe, the celebrated pioneer of modern African literature, lived and wrote from the intersection of Western culture and traditional African life. Orhan Pamuk, Nobel Prize-winning novelist, explored the attraction and repulsion between East and West in his native Turkey.
Seigel considers these five individuals not only for the intrinsic interest of their stories but also for the depth and breadth of their writing on the challenges of creating an intercultural identity, enabling him to analyze their experiences via historical, psychological, and critical approaches. Fascinating in and of themselves, these lives between cultures also highlight the realities faced by many in this age of high mobility and ever-greater global connection and raise questions about what it means for human beings to belong to cultures.
Chapter 1. Masquerade, Engagement, and Skepticism: Richard Burton
Chapter 2. Commitment and Loss: T. E. Lawrence
Chapter 3. The Islamic Catholicism of Louis Massignon
Chapter 4. Independence and Ambivalence: Chinua Achebe and Two African Contemporaries
Chapter 5. Reflection, Mystery, and Violence: Orhan Pamuk
Conclusion. Distance and Belonging
"Between Cultures is an engaging, insightful, and highly original study. The variety of individuals and cultures that Seigel examines makes this a daring and challenging project, and he pulls it off with considerable skill and conviction."—Dane Kennedy, George Washington University
"Jerrold Seigel is one of the greatest practitioners of intellectual history in our time—and this account of five exemplary individuals, who produced great works while inhabiting two different cultures simultaneously, speaks to all of his strengths: his psychological insight, combined with a deep knowledge of the social sciences as well as world history; his philosophical sophistication, allied with an anthropologist's interest in all that initially seems alien; and his profound compassion for the 'human, all too human,' which is evident on every page of this exemplary study."—James Miller, author of Examined Lives: From Socrates to Nietzsche and The Passion of Michel Foucault
"Jerrold Seigel, one of our most astute commentators on the Western self, now explores the lives and writings of five remarkable men moving between modern cultural worlds. From Richard Burton to Orhan Pamuk, Seigel leads us on a fascinating journey where religion, eros, politics, and violence are all brought into play across regimes of colonial conflict. An absorbing examination of loss and discovery, Between Cultures gives us powerful new insights into what belonging can mean in our entangled universe."—Natalie Zemon Davis, University of Toronto