Chapter

Not Knowing the Oriental

Douglas Kerr

in Eastern Figures

Published by Hong Kong University Press

Published in print June 2008 | ISBN: 9789622099340
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9789882206892 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5790/hongkong/9789622099340.003.0009
Not Knowing the Oriental

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This chapter discusses Orientalism and the importance of knowing the Oriental people. Edward Said's book, Orientalism, helped propagate an understanding of Western discourse about the East as a system of knowledge or power. Said also argued that through Orientalism, the West authors the East and becomes its authority. The chapter looks at the knowledge held by Rudyard Kipling's Strickland, who is an English police officer in India and a recurrent character in Kipling's stories. It also states that although knowing the Oriental was important in order to control the Orient, too much knowledge weakened the epistemological and political barrier that functioned to keep people, rulers and ruled, in their proper places.

Keywords: Orientalism; Oriental people; Edward Said; Western discourse; Orient; knowing; barrier; Strickland; Rudyard Kipling

Chapter.  8116 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (20th Century onwards)

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