This article, to some extent a response to Edward Said's Orientalism and Culture and Imperialism, concentrates on the dialectical attitudes towards the 'Orient' in a number of English literary texts. Through a contrapuntal textual analysis, signs emerge of a stereotypical and often monolithic Orient represented within the framework of dominant discursive practices. Similar discursive practices also seem to influence a significant number of contemporary scholars and critics active in the field. of English literature. This raises
many questions concerning the binary opposition as well as what
Bhabha terms the ambivalent relationship, between the 'West' and its
'Other': is the portrayal of the Orient a relatively static or monolithic feature, and is it continually seen as a potential threat through transculturation or hybridity? These questions must be pursued in the context of the ideological position of both the writers themselves and the Oriental ism of critics and theorists.