Edward Said’s Memoir Out of Place: Postcolonial Tenets, Dissonant Voices, and Divided Loyalties

Shadi S. Neimneh, Halla A. Shureteh


Edward Said’s Out of Place (1999), a memoir written after his diagnosis with leukemia in 1991, was begun in 1994 to document his sense of cultural displacement and imminent death. This article examines the divided loyalties and dissonant voices Said vents in this book through the lens of cultural theories. It argues that such a conflicting vision can provide a proper context for understanding Said’s contributions to cultural studies and literary theory via the construction of the other, the out of place, at the levels of language, religion, environment, and homeland. Said presents himself as a postcolonial subject par excellence with divided loyalties and “unhomely” feelings. He uses a confessional mode to convey a constant sense of exile and identity crisis. Said’s life negotiated the postcolonial parlance he preached in his academic life, which offers a unique case on the relationship between theory and practice. The memoir emerges not only as an autobiographical text but equally as a contribution to literary theory and overlapping postcolonial discourses. Thus, this autobiographical memoir is useful for the literature classroom due to its theoretical value as well as non-fictional import.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5430/wjel.v11n2p19

World Journal of English Language
ISSN 1925-0703(Print)  ISSN 1925-0711(Online)

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