|About the Book|
What does it mean to be an intellectual at a time when a large proportion of the population is in the information business? Areintellectuals merely the specialized servants of special interests or do they have a larger responsibility? In these wide-ranging essays, which were originally delivered as part of the BBCs prestigious Reith Lectures, one of our most brilliant and fiercely independent public thjnkers addresses those questions with extraordinary eloquence.Edward Said sees the intellectual as an exile and amateur whose role it is to speak the truth to power even at the risk of ostracism or imprisonment. Drawing on the examples of Jonathan Swift and Theodor Adorno, Robert Oppellheimer and Henry Kissinger, Vietnam and the Gulf War, Said explores the implications of this idea and shows what happens when intellectuals succumb to the lures of money, power, or specialization. Representations of the Intellectual embodies the very values that it upholds: relentless honesty, rigor of thought and conscience, and a sublime disdain for dogma.