Edward Said

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Benjamin P. Davis | A Scarf and A Song: Reflections on Simone Weil, Jean Genet, and Edward Said

In an essay on Genet published in Grand Street, Edward Said tells the story of leaving Hamilton Hall to see Genet speak (on the steps of the Low Library) at a rally for the Black Panthers in the spring of 1970, with the university having yet to recover from the student protests of 1968. Said noted about Columbia that at that time “its administration was feeling uncertain, its faculty were badly divided, its students were perpetually exercised both in and out of the classroom.” At the Panther rally, Said observed a great difference between “the declarative simplicity of Genet’s French remarks” and “the immensely baroque embellishment of them by my erstwhile student.” [Continue reading…]