Conversations with Edward Said

Published by Seagull, April 2006

In one of his last interviews, Edward Said speaks with Tariq Ali about his dislocated existence, his initiation into politics, his involvement with the Palestinian cause, his approach to the study of culture, and his pervasive love of literature and music. Intimate, personal, thought-provoking, and absorbing, these conversations capture Said—as political activist, cultural historian, professor of literature, and music aficionado—and confirm his position as one of the most passionate and thoughtful intellectuals of our time.

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Also published by Seagull: The Assassination, A Banker for All Seasons, The Leopard and the Fox

From the archive

  • Le « street fighting man » court encore — Tariq Ali interviewed for Sud Ouest

    December 1, 2011

    Oliver Mony met with Tariq Ali to discuss his career and The Night of the Golden Butterfly for Sud Ouest, November 20, 2011.

    «J’ai changé, et bien plus que tu ne le penses, mais certaines choses plongent trop loin, et, même si le monde n’est plus le même, c’est criminel d’oublier ce qui a été un jour possible et qui le redeviendra. »

    L’homme qui a écrit ces lignes lumineuses de mélancolie et de tendresse navrée est une légende. Et, pour l’instant (et dans l’attente sans cesse différée du Grand Soir), dans ce restaurant à l’ombre du théâtre de l’Odéon où il a son rond de serviette lors de ses séjours parisiens, pull à grosses mailles pour été indien, pantalon de velours de gentleman-farmer, moustache blanche d’officier à la retraite de l’armée des Indes, un rien d’Omar Sharif  …

  • Granadillo Award for the Islam Quintet

    January 2, 2010

    Text of the speech made by Tariq Ali upon receiving the Granadillo Award, January 2, 2010

    Thank you very much and I am privileged to be so honored, but I am only too aware of the significance of this day and the fact that you are honoring the ideas expressed in the ‘Shadows of the Pomegranate Tree’, the first novel of the Quintet that I started writing in this city over twenty years ago. I wanted to remind readers of the last tormented days of Islamic civilization in al-Andalus; not for reasons of nostalgia, but because the crimes that were committed—the burning of the books in the Bibbarambla a few minutes walk from where we are now, the expulsion of the Jews, the forced conversions, the auto-da-fes (burning of heretics on the stake), the Inquisition and  …

  • The Clash of Fundamentalisms: Crusades, Jihads and Modernity

    January 1, 2003

    Published by Verso, 2003

    In The Clash of Fundamentalisms, Tariq Ali puts the events of September 11 into sweeping historical perspective. As we have come to expect from him, he is lucid, eloquent, literary, and painfully honest, as he dissects both Islamic and Western fundamentalism.

    The aerial attacks on the Pentagon and the World Trade Center, a global spectacle of unprecedented dimensions, generated an enormous volume of commentary. The inviolability of the American mainland, breached for the first time since 1812, led to extravagant proclamations by the pundits. It was a new world-historical turning point. The 21st century, once greeted triumphally as marking the dawn of a worldwide neoliberal civilization, suddenly became menaced. The choice presented from the White House and its supporters was to stand shoulder-to-shoulder against terrorism or be damned.

    Tariq Ali challenges these assumptions, arguing instead that  …