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Representations of the Intellectual

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  1,934 ratings  ·  251 reviews
Celebrated humanist, teacher, and scholar, Edward W. Said here examines the ever-changing role of the intellectual today. In these six stunning essays - delivered on the BBC as the prestigious Reith Lectures - Said addresses the ways in which the intellectual can best serve society in the light of a heavily compromised media and of special interest groups who are protected ...more
Paperback, 121 pages
Published April 2nd 1996 by Vintage (first published 1994)
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Ahmad Sharabiani
Representations of the intellectual: the 1993 Reith lectures, Edward W. Said
Edward Wadie Said (1 November 1935 – 25 September 2003) was a professor of literature at Columbia University, a public intellectual, and a founder of the academic field of postcolonial studies. A Palestinian American born in Mandatory Palestine, he was a citizen of the United States by way of his father, a U.S. Army veteran. Edward Wadie Said educated in the Western canon, at British and American schools, he applied his
John David
Apr 16, 2012 rated it liked it
“Representations of the Intellectual” is a compilation of the six Reith Lectures that Edward Said delivered over BBC Radio in 1993. The title is somewhat misleading: Said doesn’t really examine representations of intellectuals so much as offers a prescriptive way he thinks they should function within a society. His particular interest is the intellectual in the late twentieth century, confronted as they sometimes are on all fronts with ideological and political concerns. How is the intellectual ...more
Nov 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“Real intellectual analysis forbids calling one side innocent, the other evil…” (89)

Edward Said here explores the role and constitution of the intellectual. For Said, the intellectual is an exile, driven by a sort of strange disenchantment with society. The intellectual is critical vis a vis the surrounding culture and state, not because they’re vicious or angry, but because they do so speaking up for the disenfranchised, they side with the oppressed or marginalised. Said does note that the
Jun 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Some books have spoiler alerts. This one has to have a game changer alert. If you are happy with your run of the mill style thinking and don’t want to change the status quo of your mind then just walk away. Said shares a lot of my iconoclastic views. There’s a bit of a stigma with calling yourself an intellectual and there must be degrees of it so if Said, Adorno, Vico, Gramsci and the like are the Barcelona’s of intellectualism then I’m definitely not much off the Bognor Regis level i would ...more
D.  St. Germain
Jul 19, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: life-of-the-mind
This book should be handed to everyone entering academia as a profession.
Dec 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
edward said! this man! i cannot tell you how much i love his depth of knowledge, his writings, his thought-provoking thoughts! there are many memories which will bore you if i tell. he is one of the erudite scholars who intrigues me. his knowledge! my goodness! however, he saved me for like twice while i began to write my term papers. he's one of the very few humanist theorists or, rather, thinkers i love most. and, this book is stellar. absolutely phenomenal.

in this book, said argues on the
Brian Napoletano
May 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
In contrast to the conventional image of an intellectual as an bookish, slightly eccentric academician, Said portrays the intellectual as a powerful oppositional figure in society. Most mainstream "intellectuals" fail to meet Said's criteria, and are dismissed as little more than apologists for the present authoritarian hierarchy. The true intellectual, Said argues, lives in a perpetual exile (either literal or subjective), as she is unable to subordinate her mind to any particular dogma or ...more
Moushine Zahr
Mar 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
I've read the French edition of this non-fiction book. This is the 3rd book I've read from Edward Said.

Edward Said was a great intellectual that I always like reading so far. The topic of intellectual is unusual and it is the first time I read about. Like any Edward Said's book, there are my literature and historical references in this book of authors that I haven't read. The purpose of this book and the conferences he gave to a BBC program was to define the new profile and roles of the
Aug 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This excellent book provides a good account of what an intellectual should be like, and how things are in reality. Said seems to embody elements of the true intellectual, as opposed to the pseudo-intellectual or intellectual-yet-idiot (IYI). A general rule is: most people who see themselves as intellectuals are IYIs. Said believes that intellectual pursuits have been professionalised, with people working for big corporations on salaries, who don’t want to tell the truth for fear of falling out ...more
An upbeat reader
Oct 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I'll be reviewing this later.
A r a k Mc
Aug 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
I'd recommend each intellectual-to-be to reaf it. It shades light on important issues & definitions related to intellectuals & how they are held by restrictions to avoid them from their real mission.
Mar 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
“The central fact for me is, I think, that the intellectual is an individual endowed with a faculty for representing, embodying, articulating a message, a view, an attitude, philosophy or opinion to, as well as for, a public. And this role has an edge to it, and cannot be played without a sense of being someone whose place it is publicly to raise embarrassing questions, to confront orthodoxy and dogma (rather than to produce them), to be someone who cannot easily be co-opted by governments or ...more
Emily Murphy
Oct 02, 2014 rated it it was ok
All of these ratings are on a scale of 1-10, 10 being the best.

Quality of Writing: 3
This book was originally a series of lectures, and let's just say one can tell. The overall reading of the book is rather confusing and jumps around. Sentences are at times long and confusing, and word choice is somewhat inaccessible. However, note all the mitigating adjectives I just used. It wasn't that bad. If one reads this book aloud, it becomes much easier to understand.

Pace: 5
Since this book was a series
Muhammad Syamir
Feb 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is my first time reading edward said's book so im quite unfamiliar with the way he writes his books.. Nevertheless, he still give good insights about what it meant to be an intellectuals.. Where is the position of an intellectuals within society.. What are the challenges and risk.. How and why nowdays there is a disappearance of the intellectuals... And also how he viewed his life as an intellectuals..
Ebonique Ellis
This book needs to be given to every minority before they study in an English university.
سمر طلبة
Feb 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
A very good book by a very courageous man.
emi k
Jun 25, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: smart people.
Shelves: lovelove
On a daily basis I find myself saying "WTF?"
This book makes me understand why.
Sina Maleki
Feb 24, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: The one's like to fight correctly with all shapes of power and biases
The most effective book on me
Fyza Parviz Jazra
Mar 05, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: writing
‘Representations of the Intellectual’ is Edward Said’s 1993 Reith Lectures compounded in a book. Said builds a thesis for his definition of an intellectual: someone not bounded by a state, religion, set of values, or ideology; but someone who fights publicly against injustice and desires for equality. Though this definition seemed to me more apt for an activist rather than an intellectual; because an intellectual to me is a person, who after a thorough study of historical factors, can without ...more
Nov 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
In the Reith Lectures, Said ponders several questions focusing on the figure of the intellectual. What makes an intellectual and how are they presented in the modern world? Said concludes that an intellectuals main task is to be an advocate for freedom of knowledge and questioning the status quo. Intellectuals are therefore not always popular as they ask the uncomfortable questions. However, without asking those questions, key debates are missed. Throughout, Said points out that an intellectual ...more
Natalia Cruz
Sep 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Said gives very good insight to what the role of intellectuals is in this world. He talks a lot about what he thinks they should be doing versus what they often find themselves doing. Said comments on how they often shift towards certain ideologies due to their commitments to institutions. To whoever is interested in academia or considers themselves "an intellectual", this book pushes you to reflect on the motivation behind this role.
Mohamed Rafik
Aug 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
It is the most important lectures about intellectuals I have ever listened till now. Edward Said said every thing 24 years ago which we see now specially in his last two lectures. Actually I didn't get the book but I think that the spoken lectures by Edward's voice on the BBC archive more valuable than the book and also they are available free with subtitles to everyone around the world. R I P Edward your thoughts are with us.
Aug 28, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: society
Great insight on the position the intellectual must hold in society in order to be of benefit to it, specially relevant in this age when intellectuals can be bought by power to justify its actions.

Still kinda pretentious and gives higher status to the intellectual than i belive neccesary, humbleness is not a key future in how the author praises intellectuals.
Zack Gebhardt
Jan 29, 2019 rated it liked it
Series of short speeches on the practice of intellectualism given by Said at the Reith Lectures in the UK in 1994.
Mandla Nyindodo
Dec 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Very well expressed points challenging to the status quo. Good work
Muhemed Masika
Aug 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The sultry of words leaves you relieved and satisfied
Alexia Polasky
Nov 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars. A great source of food for thought on what it means to be an intellectual.
Stephen Coates
Oct 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
Based on his 1993 Reith Lectures, an annual set of lectures broadcast on the BBC, Said explores the role of the public intellectual when so many are in the information industry, whether as public relations professionals promoting one or another special interest group or persons advancing one or another set of ideas. He argues that the role of the intellectual is to “speak the truth to power” even if doing so involves personal risk and articulates this elegantly in this range of essays citing a ...more
فاروق الفرشيشي
I don't see many representations here. Just one, in different position. For Edward Said there's just one kind of intellectual, all the others (the local, the professional, the god server, etc) are not "the real intellectual".

Some quotes

One task of the intellectual is to break down the stereotypes and reductive categories that are so limiting to human thought and communication.

Universality means taking a risk in order to go beyond the easy certainties provided us
Feb 25, 2014 rated it really liked it

I was inclined to give this book 5 stars because Edward Said is a hero in my eyes, a true "intellectual". But at the end, I am giving the book a 4 star because I don't completely agree on Edward's definition of an intellectual. While Edward sees an intellectual as someone who must play an active role in society, I think this is not necessary. Edward's views come across as idealistic, and humanistic -- what he describes sounds like a social activist, something that I don't necessary associate
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(Arabic Profile إدوارد سعيد)
Edward Wadie Said was a professor of literature at Columbia University, a public intellectual, and a founder of the academic field of postcolonial studies. A Palestinian American born in Mandatory Palestine, he was a citizen of the United States by way of his father, a U.S. Army veteran.

Educated in the Western canon, at British and American schools, Said applied his
“الإنسان الذي لم يعد له وطن، يتخذ من الكتابة وطنا يقيم فيه” 246 likes
“المثقفين "تلك الشخصيات التي لا يمكن التكهّن بأدائها العلني؛ أو إخضاع تصرفها لشعار ما, أو خط حزبي تقليدي, أو عقيدة جازمة ثابتة. وما سعيت إلى اقتراحه هو وجوب بقاء المثقف أميناً لمعايير الحق الخاصة بالبؤس الإنساني والاضطهاد, رغم انتسابه الحزبي, وخلفيته القومية, وولاءاته الفطرية. ولا شيء يشوه الأداء العلني للمثقف أكثر من تغيير الآراء تتبعاً للظروف, وإلتزام الصمت الحذر, والتبجح الوطني, والردّة المتأخرة التي تصور نفسها بأسلوب مسرحي" ص14 - صَور المثقف” 60 likes
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