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Rana Kabbani Biography

(1958– ), Europe's Myths of the Orient: Devise and Rule

orient myths europe cultural

Syrian cultural historian, born in Damascus, educated at the American University of Beirut and Jesus College, Cambridge. After working as an art critic in Paris and as a publisher's editor in London, she became a full-time writer in 1986. Europe's Myths of the Orient: Devise and Rule (1986) evaluated Western perceptions of Islamic culture with particular reference to the formulation of erotic stereotypes in literature and painting; the book was later republished as Imperial Fictions: Europe's Myths of the Orient (1994). The increase in hostility towards Islam produced by events following the publication of Salman Rushdie's The Satanic Verses prompted Kabbani to clarify the religious and cultural character of the Muslim world in A Letter to Christendom (1989). Her other works include her translations from the Arabic of Mahmoud Darweesh's Sand and Other Poems (1986) and her editorship of The Passionate Nomad: Diaries of Isabelle Eberhardt (1987).

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