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Chapter Summary

This introductory chapter presents an overview of the concepts discussed in this book. The book presents portraits of the main Dutch Arabists up to and including the first half of the twentieth century. The portraits of the most distinguished Dutch Arabists are placed in their historical and intellectual context in order to show how intimately the development of Arabic studies is entwined with European and Dutch history. The portraits differ in their length and in the extent of the details. This is partly because of the amount of information given by the sources and partly because of the significance of the particular scholar portrayed. The portraits provide a picture which combines coherence with diversity. The book philosophizes with moderation about the links between orientalism and colonial interests, as the American Palestinian literary critic Edward Said did in his controversial book Orientalism. It makes the necessary reference to colonial connections whenever appropriate.

Keywords: Dutch Arabists; European history; Orientalism; portraits



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