An Anti-imperialist, Orientalist Epic

Steven C. Caton

in Lawrence of Arabia

Published by University of California Press

Published in print April 1999 | ISBN: 9780520210820
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520919891 | DOI:
An Anti-imperialist, Orientalist Epic

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This chapter addresses the question of anthropology and of orientalism, which is invoked by Lawrence of Arabia. It shows how the film is both deeply orientalist and engaged in a critique of colonialism, which includes the U.S. colonial adventurism of the 1960s. This chapter also notes that the critique reminds people that the Lawrence legend was created by a newspaper man hired by the U.S. government to portray World War I in its more “romantic” aspects, which drew the nation toward war.

Keywords: orientalism; critique of colonialism; colonial adventurism; Lawrence legend; romantic aspects; war

Chapter.  11252 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Anthropology

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