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Fictionalizing the World

Rethinking the Politics of Literature

Edited By Louisa Söllner and Anita Vržina

The book offers ten essays which explore the interaction between literature and politics. The authors investigate a variety of genres including young-adult fiction, national poetry, novels, autobiography, and performance art from different time periods ranging from the 18 th up to the 21 st century from the Americas, Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. Grouped in three sections, the essays focus on the relationship between fiction and identity; the creation of spaces of/in fiction; and the interplay of irony and fiction. They reveal that fiction has a fundamental potential not only to react to but also to affect and shape the world. This offers a possibility to negotiate and re-imagine the ways in which we perceive the world and position ourselves within it.
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Poets of the Unseen: Musing Through Loss and Displacement in Identity Formation in and Around the Palestine/Israel Conflict

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Abstract

This paper addresses the “unseen” and how it is named in a small, non-representative collection of poems produced in the incoherent context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It offers a contrapuntal reading of Palestinian and Israeli poetry without equating their shadow texts.

I

Discourses on the Palestine/Israel conflict have undergone a number of paradigmatic shifts over the past decades. These long and violent years have created an entangled history in which it is impossible to mention Israel without also mentioning Palestine, and vice versa. It is also impossible is to mention the Middle East and not refer to both, or to even speak of religion or identity and to not reflect on the theo-politics of the Holy Land. Edward Said explains that, in Middle Eastern studies since World War II, addressing the question of Palestine as an integral part of the Arab consciousness is inevitable. The discourse here, according to Said, stems from two central convictions concerning the Palestinians’ right to exist as a people that have been profoundly based on the standpoint that “required one to decide whether the Palestinian were a people (or national community), which in turn implied supporting or opposing their right to self-determination” (Said 260). The discourses around the conflict itself have shifted to and fro in no definable chronological order to include territorial, theocratic, ethnic, nationalist, postcolonial, and settler colonial dimensions. Some paradigms, however, did not last – or rather, they did last, but only in very...

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