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Edward Said – The Age of Disentanglement

May 30, 2014

“The mechanisms involved in the preservation of knowledge in archives, the rules governing the formation of concepts, the vocabulary of expressive languages, the various systems of dissemination: these all enter to some extent the individual mind and influence it so that we can no longer say with absolute confidence where individuality ends and the public realm begins. Nevertheless, my contention … is that it is the mark of humanistic scholarship, reading, and interpretation to be able to disentangle the usual from the unusual and the ordinary from the extraordinary in aesthetic works as well as in the statements made by philosophers, intellectuals, and public figures.”

(from ‘The Changing Bases of Humanistic Study and Practice’, in Humanism and Democratic Criticism [2004])

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