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Between Cultures : Europe and Its Others in Five Exemplary Lives (Hardcover) (Jerrold Seigel)
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Richard Burton. T. E. Lawrence. Louis Massignon. Chinua Achebe. Orhan Pamuk. The remarkable quintet whose stories make up Jerrold Seigel'sBetween Cultures are all people who, without ever seeking to exit from the ways of life into which they were born, devoted themselves to exploring a second cultural identity as an intrinsic part of their first. Richard Burton, the British traveler and writer, sought to experience the inner life of Islam by making the pilgrimage to Mecca in the guise of a Muslim in 1853. T. E. Lawrence, famously known as Lawrence of Arabia, recounted his tortuous ties to the Arab uprising against Turkish rule in his celebratedSeven Pillars of Wisdom. Louis Massignon was a great, deeply introspective, and profoundly troubled French Catholic scholar of Islam. Chinua Achebe, the celebrated pioneer of modern African literature, lived and wrote from the intersection of Western culture and traditional African life. Orhan Pamuk, Nobel Prize-winning novelist, explored the attraction and repulsion between East and West in his native Turkey.
Seigel considers these five individuals not only for the intrinsic interest of their stories but also for the depth and breadth of their writing on the challenges of creating an intercultural identity, enabling him to analyze their experiences via historical, psychological, and critical approaches. Fascinating in and of themselves, these lives between cultures also highlight the realities faced by many in this age of high mobility and ever-greater global connection and raise questions about what it means for human beings to belong to cultures.