Hybrid literature, hybrid agency: the status of the literary text in Edward Said’s cultural analysis
In this project I investigate the status of literary artifacts in Edward Said’s theory and reading practice and his correlating conceptualization of agency. Previous scholars have identified an irreconcilable tension in Said’s oeuvre between concepts from two supposedly opposing philosophies: humanism and anti-humanism. Instead of foregrounding this dichotomy and takings its irreconcilability for granted, I focus on literary texts as a critical locus and entry-point to investigate the concept of agency in Said’s cultural analysis.This project does not continue the previous oppositional logic in which humanism and anti-humanism are seen as mutually exclusive positions but to reconstruct their shifting meanings as well as Said’s attempt to redefine these terms and their function. I study Said’s intertexts and the application of these texts in his approach to contrapuntal reading as I investigate how Said’s reading strategy and theoretical models influence the conceptualization of literature and agency in his critical theory.