"The typical reader is likely to gain a deeper understanding about the ways Orientalist ideas have penetrated popular culture right up to the present. . . . A very important book."—Eric Hooglund, editor, Middle East Critique
"A wide-ranging, knowledgeable survey of some of the most colorful, yet sometimes inexplicably forgotten, nineteenth- and early twentieth-century British travelers in the Levant. He has mastered the personal and intellectual biographies of well-known personalities such as Burton, Doughty and T. E. Lawrence, but also those of lesser known writers such as Robert Cunninghame Graham and Marmaduke Pickthall. He fleshes out the stereotype of the ‘white man abroad’ by embedding these individuals in their historical contexts and allowing us to see their flawed, quirky and sometimes heroic humanity. . . . Long’s book provides a vivid picture of the social and intellectual atmospheres within which British travelers swanned, splashed and stumbled through history."—Ken Seigneurie, associate professor and director, World Literature Program, Simon Fraser University
"Reading Arabia offers a smart and well-researched study of British Orientalism. Reading the works of such prominent figures as Burton, Doughty, and Lawrence, Long makes a compelling argument about the productive function of the Oriental fantasy in mass culture and consumer economy of the late Empire."—Ali Behdad, author of Belated Travelers: Orientalism in the Age of Colonial Dissolution
Reading Arabia traces the evolving tradition of British Orientalism in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, examining the role of mass print culture in constructing the British public’s perception of “Arabia.” Long brings together close readings and ideological analyses of primary texts by Richard Burton, Charles Doughty, Robert Cunninghame Graham, Marmaduke Pickthall, and T. E. Lawrence, along with pamphlets, journalism and commentary, silent films, stage spectacles, and travel literature. Through these texts, Long examines the fantasy of the Orient and its constitutive function. Building on the pioneering work of Edward Said, Reading Arabia looks beyond foreign policy debates and issues of human rights to show how British Orientalism is rooted in words and phrases of a popular culture that shaped the way the public read and imagined the Arab world.
Andrew C. Long currently teaches in the Department of Cultural Studies at the Claremont Graduate University. His articles have appeared in Studies in the Novel and Prose Studies.
6 x 9, 272 pages, 4 black and white illustrations