Under Western Eyes

Our friends at the Claremont Institute and the Claremont Review of Books have once again afforded us the privilege of rolling out a few pieces from the new (Spring) issue, which has just been mailed out to subscribers. The CRB is the flagship publication of the Claremont Institute and is my favorite magazine. The mission of the CRB, consistent with the mission of the Claremont Institute itself, is to lay the intellectual groundwork for the restoration of limited government. See, for example, the editorial by CRB editor Charles Kesler in the current issue. The CRB seeks to do so much as the New Republic, founded in 1914 by Herbert Croly and Walter Lippmann, laid the intellectual groundwork for its undoing in the Progressive Era and the New Deal. Subscriptions to the CRB are only $19.95 a year; subscribe here.
Algis Valiunas and I were contemporaries at Dartmouth. He is the accomplished literary journalist and author of Churchill’s Military Histories. The first of the three articles we’re previewing from the new issue is Algis’s timely look back at “the great Western literary travelers through Muslim lands, such as Chateaubriand, Edward Lane, Gustave Flaubert, Richard F. Burton, Charles Doughty, and T.E. Lawrence.” These travelers produced a body of literature that Edward Said famously stigmatized as “Orientalist.” Algis writes:

The travel literature is far more open-minded and perceptive than Said’s animadversions suggest, and besides, he leaves out important figures like Alexis de Tocqueville, John Lloyd Stephens, Mark Twain, and Robert Byron. These writers were all earnest searchers after Islamic civilization, and contrary to Said’s caricature, what they observed can instruct us still.

Algis’s essay is something of a journey itself. It takes us on a tour to interesting destinations and returns home reflecting on the sights;

Someone who reads only Edward Said


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