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Eastern FiguresOrient and Empire in British Writing$
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Douglas Kerr

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9789622099340

Published to Hong Kong Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5790/hongkong/9789622099340.001.0001

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Not Knowing the Oriental

Not Knowing the Oriental

(p.222) (p.223) 9 Not Knowing the Oriental
Eastern Figures

Douglas Kerr

Hong Kong University Press

This chapter discusses Orientalism and the importance of knowing the Oriental people. Edward Said's book, Orientalism, helped propagate an understanding of Western discourse about the East as a system of knowledge or power. Said also argued that through Orientalism, the West authors the East and becomes its authority. The chapter looks at the knowledge held by Rudyard Kipling's Strickland, who is an English police officer in India and a recurrent character in Kipling's stories. It also states that although knowing the Oriental was important in order to control the Orient, too much knowledge weakened the epistemological and political barrier that functioned to keep people, rulers and ruled, in their proper places.

Keywords:   Orientalism, Oriental people, Edward Said, Western discourse, Orient, knowing, barrier, Strickland, Rudyard Kipling

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