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Abstract

During the past thirty years, scholars of Arab cultural politics have struggled to articulate modern Palestinians’ unique ways of viewing the medieval past. Al-Andalus in particular fascinates authors and visual artists of Palestine. Our current theoretical framework within Arabic literature is poorly adapted to the sweeping historiography that these authors and artists create. This article revises the academic consensus that nostalgia is the organizing principle for Palestinian expressions of Andalusi identity. It provides a new way to understand the relationship between modern Palestinian poetics and the idea of a past Arab Iberia. Shifting from the affective theory of nostalgia that culminated in the early 1990s, I argue that Palestine’s version of al-Andalus in the twenty-first century works primarily as an artistic technique of reading Maghrebi texts rather than as an idyllic geographic place.

In: Journal of Arabic Literature

Abstract

Through a close reading of several poems by Maḥmūd Darwīsh, this article argues for the critical distinction between the concepts of metaphor and metonymy in Darwīsh’s work, expanding on the claim that in Darwīsh’s poetry, “Palestine endured and became metaphor.” It argues that metonymy, which might be understood as a form of direct replacement, forecloses imaginative possibilities (both poetic and political) in a way that is related to the work of colonial violence. Metaphor, by contrast, represents a form of imaginative work that opens out onto possibilities that are concealed by the literal and is thus structurally similar to the work of solidarity. Metaphor, as deployed by Darwīsh in his poetics, can become a mode of recapturing possibilities from a past that the present has attempted to obliterate. It can thus be read as pointing towards a different sort of future, one that aligns with the struggle for decolonization (more specifically, the decolonization of Palestine). The essay concludes by outlining the critical work that would be receptive to such a poetics as a form of solidarity.

In: Journal of Arabic Literature
Author:

Abstract

This article addresses a discursive problem with the study of Palestinian literature alongside Israeli literature: by focusing on the intersections between Hebrew and Arabic literatures, scholars have created a hybrid that precludes comparison between two separate entities. This article surveys the theoretical and political drawbacks of this approach and then moves to theorize Palestinian literature outside its pairing with Israeli literature as a global multilingual literary system that is major yet non-hegemonic. I suggest that Palestinian literature can be informed by theories of world literature, on the one hand, and inform world literature about the way diasporic literature moves in the world, on the other hand. Last, I discuss the novel Tafṣīl thānawī by ʿAdanīyah Shiblī in order to demonstrate a possible expansion of the grounds of comparison once a work of Palestinian literature like this one is read beyond its dialogue with Israeli culture.

Open Access
In: Journal of Arabic Literature
Free access
In: Journal of Arabic Literature
In: Journal of Arabic Literature

Abstract

This paper explores Fadwā Ṭūqān’s and Maḥmūd Darwīsh’s poetry written in the wake of the 1967 June War, the Israeli siege of Beirut in 1982, and the Second Intifāḍah (uprising) in 2002. Specifically, the article investigates how the poets mobilize the Arabic elegiac (rithāʾ) genre, as well as pre-Islamic and early Islamic poetic traditions, in order to contemplate the future and foster a mode of proleptic mourning. This paper asserts that these two Palestinian poets utilize the longstanding elegiac form in Arabic literary heritage to not only summon and lament past events and atrocities, but to conjecture about the insecurity that they anticipate in the years to come. The poems render both hopeful and pessimistic sentiments and premonitions, demonstrating how the ongoing Israeli occupation and the Palestinians’ resultant losses over time have precipitated increasingly sobering and distressing speculations about the perpetuation of Palestinians’ grief in the future.

Open Access
In: Journal of Arabic Literature

Abstract

Though Palestine—as place, national aspiration, conflict, refugee crisis, political-cultural cause—stands at the institutional origin of the fields of Arab American literary study and Arab American studies more generally, Palestinian American literature itself has mostly not yet become a discrete object of disciplinary study. Palestinian American authors have not been ignored, but scholarly analysis of their work often proceeds under the authority of other legitimizing frameworks—with Palestinian American literature instrumentalized as capital for other ideological projects—even as identity became a primary currency in academic literary study in the decolonial era. This has limited opportunities to examine disciplinary mechanisms of institution-formation. A robust theory of Palestinian American literature contests the critical overdetermination suffered by an emergent Palestinian American literary archive that has expanded substantially since 2001, supporting a dynamic field of dedicated literary scholarship that refuses to be subordinated to a project of territorial nationalism.

In: Journal of Arabic Literature