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Dr. Nassir to Author A New Book

Associate Professor of English Language & Literature at AUK Dr. Ghazi Q. Nassir's proposal to author a book about Samuel Johnson and Orientalism has been accepted by the Edwin Mellen Press.

The main purpose of the book, Samuel Johnson and Orientalism, is to demonstrate how Samuel Johnson's Irene, Rasselas and his other short Oriental tales (five in the Rambler and three in the Idler) share, with previous Oriental writings, a common focus on Islam, Arabs, their culture, and political systems. Johnson's assessments of and observations on Islam and Arab cultures in both his writings and conversations clearly prove that he looked at them less objectively. His treatment of the Orient was highly biased (throughout this book the term "Orient" is used, as in Johnson's time, to designate lands and cultures who were generally equivalent to the Ottoman Empire: Turkey, Syria, Palestine, Egypt, Iraq, Arabia, Persia, and Abyssinia). The book seeks to furnish the students of eighteenth century English literature, Johnsonian scholars, orientalists with some useful observations on Johnson's Orientalism, as a whole, and as well on particular works in the light of what is now known of Samuel Johnson's life, personality, psychological profile, and the intellectual and literary milieu in which he wrote.

The author's main concern is the attitude and the opinions of Johnson, more than the sources that were available to him. By the same token, the use that he made of these sources is a strong indication of his attitude. Generally speaking, when an author like Johnson, who is famous for his fantastic memory, deletes or adds information, this allows readers to see that he purposely knew the information was wrong, and absurd.

The manuscript is five chapters long and will be delivered in its entirety by the end of October, 2010.


Dr. Ghazi Nassir receives an award from AUK president Dr. Marina Tolmacheva during AUK's Annual Dinner.


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