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

  • LRB Spring Events in New York

    March 10, 2010

    As part of the celebration of the thirtieth anniversary of the London Review of Books there is a series of events taking place in New York in April, including this one by Tariq Ali.

    Obama’s War A lecture by Tariq Ali

    Monday, 19 April at 7 p.m. School of Visual Arts, 333 West 23rd Street, New York

    Purchase tickets

    Read a Brooklyn Rail interview with Tariq Ali on Obama at war here

  • ‘A Civilizing Influence’ – The Walrus reviews The Islam Quintet

    July 1, 2005

    ‘The Islam Quintet’ reviewed by Charles Foran for The Walrus, July 1, 2005

    Making the boldest time leap in the series, The Stone Woman bypasses the glory days of the final Islamic empire to meditate on its long twilight. The novel, which details the story of a disaffected Turkish aristocrat named Nilofer who returns to her family home outside Istanbul in 1899, is a Chekhovian exercise in philosophical sighs and political inertia. Characters squander afternoons lamenting the retreat of the Ottoman Empire from the Europe that emerged out of the Renaissance. “Istanbul,” one character remarks, “could have been the capital of invention and modernity like Cordoba and Baghdad in the old days, but these wretched beards that established the laws of our state were frightened of losing their monopoly of power and knowledge.” The “beards”  …

  • ‘The General in his Labyrinth’

    January 13, 2007

    ‘The General in his Labyrinth’ by Tariq Ali for The London Review of Books, January 4, 2007

    If there is a single consistent theme in Pervez Musharraf’s memoir, it is the familiar military dogma that Pakistan has fared better under its generals than under its politicians. The first batch of generals were the offspring of the departing colonial power. They had been taught to obey orders, respect the command structure of the army whatever the cost and uphold the traditions of the British Indian Army. The bureaucrats who ran Pakistan in its early days were the product of imperial selection procedures designed to turn out incorruptible civil servants wearing a mask of objectivity. The military chain of command is still respected, but the civil service now consists largely of ruthlessly corrupt time-servers. Once its members were loyal to  …