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Robert Irwin, 1 August 1996

The Middle East: 2000 Years of History from the Birth of Christianity to the Present Day 
by Bernard Lewis.
Weidenfeld, 433 pp., £20, September 1995, 0 297 81345 5
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... the text of The Middle East has not been written by the author of the captions. Bernard Lewis, Emeritus Professor of Near Eastern Studies at Princeton, is a fluent, lively, erudite and lucid writer. He also has an eye for the pointillist anecdote and pithy maxim culled from the primary sources. His book appears in a ‘History of ...

Insults

Richard Wollheim, 19 March 1987

Semites and Anti-Semites 
by Bernard Lewis.
Weidenfeld, 288 pp., £15, August 1986, 0 297 79030 7
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After the Last Sky 
by Edward Said and Jean Mohr.
Faber, 224 pp., £6.95, September 1986, 0 571 13918 3
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... Professor Bernard Lewis enjoys a worldwide reputation as a scholar of Near-Eastern history, and in his most recent work, Semites and Anti-Semites, he has chosen to concentrate his formidable powers of analysis, and a massive accumulation of fact, upon a relatively restricted topic, which nevertheless raises large questions of historical and political understanding ...

Death to America Day

Roger Hardy, 15 September 1988

Europe and the Mystique of Islam 
by Maxime Rodinson, translated by Roger Veinus.
Tauris, 163 pp., £19.50, April 1988, 1 85043 104 3
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The Political Language of Islam 
by Bernard Lewis.
Chicago, 168 pp., £11.95, July 1988, 0 226 47692 8
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Islam and Revolution in the Middle East 
by Henry Munson.
Yale, 180 pp., £15.95, June 1988, 0 300 04127 6
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... imperialism’ is a simplistic formula. One of Said’s principal targets in Orientalism was Bernard Lewis, a British scholar now at Princeton University. Said and Lewis have become well-known sparring partners in the Orientalism debate – although their clashes have sometimes generated more heat than ...

The Academy of Lagado

Edward Said: The US Administration’s misguided war, 17 April 2003

... East experts identified long ago as having the most influence over American Middle East policy, Bernard Lewis and Fouad Ajami. Now in his late eighties, Lewis came to the US from the UK some thirty years ago to teach at Princeton. His fervent anti-Communism and disapproval of everything about contemporary Arabs and ...

Diary

Yonatan Mendel: At the Herzliya Conference, 22 February 2007

... Kingdom: How Saudi Arabia Supports the New Global Terrorism. The second speaker was Professor Bernard Lewis of Princeton University. I knew his work well – who didn’t? The title of one of his books encapsulates his views: What Went Wrong? The Clash between Islam and Modernity in the Middle East. Clash of Civilisations: here we come. The third ...

What is this Bernard?

Christopher Hitchens, 10 January 1991

Good and Faithful Servant: The Unauthorised Biography of Bernard Ingham 
by Robert Harris.
Faber, 202 pp., £14.99, December 1990, 0 571 16108 1
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... Street. Here was a then-regular sodality, consisting at different times of Kingsley Amis, Bernard Levin, Robert Conquest, Anthony Powell, Russell Lewis and assorted others, and calling itself with heavy and definite self-mockery ‘Bertorelli’s Blackshirts’. The conversational scheme was simple (I think it had ...

An Urbane Scholar in a Wilderness of Tigers

Robert Irwin: Albert Hourani, 25 January 2001

A Vision of the Middle East: An Intellectual Biography of Albert Hourani 
by Abdulaziz Al-Sudairi.
Tauris, 221 pp., £12.99, January 2000, 9781860645815
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... and analysts of the Middle East who taught in Britain. Among them were Kedourie, P.J. Vatikiotis, Bernard Lewis and Anne Lambton, none of whom objected to being labelled ‘Orientalists’. Hourani was distressed by the acrimony attacks on the profession of Orientalism engendered and by insinuations that its discourse was inherently malevolent, believing ...

All Curls and Pearls

Lorraine Daston: Why are we so curious?, 23 June 2005

The Uses of Curiosity in Early Modern France and Germany 
by Neil Kenny.
Oxford, 484 pp., £68, July 2004, 0 19 927136 4
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... is being nudged into the cultural limelight, this time by clash-of-civilisations warriors such as Bernard Lewis, who proclaim curiosity to be the distinguishing feature of the West, in woeful contrast to the alleged indifference of Muslim societies to other ways of life. If the battle is to be joined for a second time, it would be helpful to know how it ...

Before and After Said

Maya Jasanoff: A Reappraisal of Orientalism, 8 June 2006

For Lust of Knowing: The Orientalists and their Enemies 
by Robert Irwin.
Allen Lane, 416 pp., £25, January 2006, 0 7139 9415 0
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... he defends scholars singled out for attack in Orientalism (H.A.R. Gibb, Gustave von Grunebaum and Bernard Lewis among others), before moving on to a chapter-length critique of Orientalism itself. So how effectively does Irwin challenge Said? Factual purists will be delighted by his pot-shots. He makes mincemeat of such sweeping assertions as ‘Britain ...

Keep on nagging

Joanna Biggs: Azar Nafisi, 27 May 2010

Things I’ve Been Silent About: Memories of a Prodigal Daughter 
by Azar Nafisi.
Windmill, 336 pp., £8.99, February 2010, 978 0 09 948712 8
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... in mid-March 2003. Nafisi didn’t support the war, but she thanked its academic architect, Bernard Lewis, in her acknowledgments for ‘opening the door’. The popularity of the book made Nafisi a target – Hamid Dabashi, a Columbia academic, intemperately compared her to Lynndie England – but Reading Lolita in Tehran is political in the way ...

The Rule of the Road

Sanjay Subrahmanyam: What is an empire?, 12 February 2009

After Tamerlane: The Rise and Fall of Global Empire 
by John Darwin.
Penguin, 592 pp., £10.99, March 2008, 978 0 14 101022 9
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... of which not one but two recent translations into English exist. We ignore these works, and take Bernard Lewis as our guide, at our peril. Once the 19th century is reached, the narrative takes on the more traditional form of ‘a race against time’ and a modernising push driven largely by Europeans, until the ‘limits of empire’ are reached. This ...

An English Vice

Bernard Bergonzi, 21 February 1985

The Turning Key: Autobiography and the Subjective Impulse since 1800 
by Jerome Hamilton Buckley.
Harvard, 191 pp., £12.75, April 1984, 0 674 91330 2
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The Art of Autobiography in 19th and 20th-Century England 
by A.O.J. Cockshut.
Yale, 222 pp., £10.95, September 1984, 0 300 03235 8
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... which trace an individual movement towards Christianity, like Muir’s Autobiography and C.S. Lewis’s Surprised by Joy. He remarks, in the quietly authoritative tone that characterises his book: ‘Muir’s childhood is at once the shortest and the most dominant of all those known to me in the literature of autobiography.’ He is exceptionally ...

‘I can’t go on like this’

Ruth Bernard Yeazell, 19 January 1989

The Letters of Edith Wharton 
edited by R.W.B. Lewis and Nancy Lewis.
Simon and Schuster, 654 pp., £16.95, October 1988, 0 671 69965 2
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Women Artists, Women Exiles: ‘Miss Grief’ and Other Stories 
by Constance Fenimore Woolson, edited by Joan Myers Weimer.
Rutgers, 341 pp., $42, December 1988, 0 8135 1347 2
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... and with great enjoyment in French and Italian, and perhaps above all in German: one letter to Bernard Berenson speaks nostalgically of returning to her adolescent love for the 13th-century Minneleider and the Old Icelandic Edda; in another, she picks up Nietzsche’s Jenseits von Gut und Böse as a ‘diversion’ from her own writing and finds it ...

Arabs

Malise Ruthven, 18 February 1982

Covering Islam 
by Edward Said.
Routledge, 224 pp., £8.95, October 1981, 0 7100 0840 6
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Heart-Beguiling Araby 
by Kathryn Tidrick.
Cambridge, 224 pp., £12.50, July 1981, 0 521 23483 2
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Inside the Iranian Revolution 
by John Stempel.
Indiana, 336 pp., £10.50, December 1981, 0 253 14200 8
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The Return of the Ayatollah 
by Mohamed Heikal.
Deutsch, 218 pp., £9.95, November 1981, 0 233 97404 0
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Sadat 
by David Hirst and Irene Beeson.
Faber, 384 pp., £11.50, December 1981, 0 571 11690 6
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... almost as large in anti-orientalist mythology as Khomeini in Middle America: Elie Kedourie and Bernard Lewis. Lewis is singled out for his smug and unthinking assumptions about ‘Western’ intellectual superiority. At the heart of his and similar attitudes Said discerns an epistemological naivety that would never ...

One Big Murder Mystery

Adam Shatz: The Algerian army’s leading novelist, 7 October 2004

The Swallows of Kabul 
by Yasmina Khadra, translated by John Cullen.
Heinemann, 195 pp., £10.99, May 2004, 9780434011414
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Wolf Dreams 
by Yasmina Khadra, translated by Linda Black.
Toby, 272 pp., $19.95, May 2003, 1 902881 75 3
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Morituri 
by Yasmina Khadra, translated by David Herman.
Toby, 137 pp., £7.95, May 2004, 1 59264 035 4
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... Readers in the West, especially Americans, are eager to know ‘what went wrong with Islam’, as Bernard Lewis delicately puts it, particularly if it can be traced to cultural pathology and envy of ‘our freedom’. Carmen bin Ladin, the ex-wife of Osama’s brother Yeslam, and Farah Pahlavi, the Shah’s widow, have published memoirs to respectful ...

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