cover image Freud and the Non-European

Freud and the Non-European

Edward W. Said. Verso, $19 (84pp) ISBN 978-1-85984-500-4

This little book is really an essay that Said (Culture and Imperialism; etc.) delivered under the auspices of the Freud Museum in London, stretched out with Christopher Bollas's unrevised introduction (""...I am pleased to welcome all of you to this important occasion"") and critic Jacqueline Rose's response--and with double spacing. Nevertheless, it's worthwhile. In excavating Freud's historical musings on the common origins of Jews and Palestinians, Said makes a case for a common culture of the Levant, one that could serve, in a very direct way, as part of finding a path to peace. Ammiel Alcalay's After Jews and Arabs: Remaking Levantine Culture makes a fuller case, but Freud has historical cache. Highlighting what Said calls Freud's""equivocation"" on Zionism is an obviously loaded move, but Said handles it with intellectual care and equanimity, and with the sort of dry humor that he repeatedly finds in Freud himself. If readers can ignore the aggressive flap copy (""Israel's relentless march to an exclusively Jewish state denies any sense of a more complex, inclusive past""), they will find Said's Freud complex and inclusive.