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Geographies of Contact

Caroline Lehni
Fanny Moghaddassi
Hélène Ibata
et al.

V. Orientalist Contact Zones

Jules Mohl: A Missing Link in the Complex Network of Nineteenth-Century Orientalism ?

Isabelle Gadoin

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Even though Edward Said’s fervent denunciation of the ideologically charged and intellectually biased constructions of Orientalism was a necessary, and salutary call to awareness, which generated a whole spate of critical studies—and, indeed, was one of the founding stones for the whole movement of post-colonial studies—, one of its rather unfortunate side-effects was to implicitly discredit the figure of the Orientalists, those “savants” who, willingly or not, cooperated in the vast enterprise of Western domination of the East. In reality, here as everywhere, Said’s attitude should never be summed up in just one dismissive word, for, if one carefully reads through Orientalism, his positions will appear as far more nuanced than what critics seem to have made them. Although he is mostly intent on unveiling the myth of the Orientalist as “a hero rescuing the Orient from its obscurity, alienation and strangeness,”1 the global picture that emerges is a rather compounded one, which never...


Professor of British Art and Literature at the University of Poitiers, France. She has worked mostly on the question of visual perception and the apprehension of space in novels (in particular those of Thomas Hardy), as well as in nineteenthand twentieth-century travel narratives. More generally, her interest is in the field of Visual Culture and text-and-image studies. She teaches in the Master Degree on Text and Image at the university of Poitiers (“Texte-Image: Littérature, Écrans, Scènes”), and is the president of “SAIT” (“Société Angliciste Arts-Images-Textes”, the French Society for Intermedial and Intertextual Studies). She also holds an MA in Art History from the Sorbonne, for which she specialized in Islamic art, working more precisely on the reception of Persian art in Victorian Britain, with a short unpublished thesis on George Salting and his collections of Persian art. She has published several articles and co-edited two volumes on the subject: Rêver d’Orient, Connaître l’Orient, Lyon, Presses de l’ENS, 2009; and Figures pionnières de l’Orientalisme: Convergences européennes, Revue Res Orientales, no. 20, 2012.

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