Rhetorics of Belonging

Nation, Narration, and Israel/Palestine

Anna Bernard

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ISBN: 9781846319433

Publication: October 14, 2013

Series: Postcolonialism Across the Disciplines 14

In the USA? Buy the Hardback US edition
The crisis in Israel/Palestine has long been the world’s most visible military conflict. Yet the region’s cultural and intellectual life remains all but unknown to most foreign observers, which means that literary texts that make it into circulation abroad tend to be received as historical documents rather than aesthetic artefacts. Rhetorics of Belonging examines the diverse ways in which Palestinian and Israeli world writers have responded to the expectation that they will ‘narrate’ the nation, invigorating critical debates about the political and artistic value of national narration as a reading and writing practice. It considers writers whose work is rarely discussed together, offering new readings of the work of Edward Said, Amos Oz, Mourid Barghouti, Orly Castel-Bloom, Sahar Khalifeh, and Anton Shammas. This book helps to restore the category of the nation to contemporary literary criticism by attending to a context where the idea of the nation is so central a part of everyday experience that writers cannot not address it, and readers cannot help but read for it. It also points a way toward a relational literary history of Israel/Palestine, one that would situate Palestinian and Israeli writing in the context of a history of antagonistic interaction. The book’s findings are relevant not only for scholars working in postcolonial studies and Israel/Palestine studies, but for anyone interested in the difficult and unpredictable intersections of literature and politics.

Dr Anna Bernard is Lecturer in English and Comparative Literature at King’s College London.

Acknowledgements Introduction 1. Reading for the Nation 2. Exile and Liberation: Edward Said’s 'Out of Place' 3. ‘Who Would Dare to Make It Into an Abstraction’: Mourid Barghouti’s 'I Saw Ramallah' 4. ‘Israel is Not South Africa’: Amos Oz’s 'Living Utopias' 5. Intersectional Allegories: Orly Castel-Bloom and Sahar Khalifeh 6. ‘An Act of Defiance Against Them All’: Anton Shammas’ 'Arabesques' Bibliography Index

Provides rigorous insights into often overlooked experiences of nation and narration. [...] Bernard demonstrates rigour in her analysis of the chosen texts, making the book a compelling articulation of the complexities that continue to define and aid in rethinking the concept of nationhood.
Ramona Wadi   Middle East Monitor

Anna Bernard’s Rhetorics of Belonging joins the small but impressive ranks of the series “Postcolonialism Across the Disciplines” as a genuinely comparative addition to literary and Middle Eastern studies. It enhances a belated focus on Palestinian literature in postcolonial studies ...
  Journal of Postcolonial Writing

Bernard’s writing is clear and readable, exploring a range of ideas which are significant not just for scholars of literature and nationalism, but for those with a more general interest in Palestine.
  The Electronic Intifada

A fascinating, original, sophisticated yet highly readable study of Israeli and Palestinian literature.
Yair Wallach  
School of Oriental and African Studies

Format: Hardback

Size: 239 x 163 mm

208 Pages

ISBN: 9781846319433

Publication: October 14, 2013

Series: Postcolonialism Across the Disciplines 14

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