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Full Access The Poetics of the Poet’s Autobiography: Voicings and Mutings in Fadwā ūqān’s Narrative Journey

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The Poetics of the Poet’s Autobiography: Voicings and Mutings in Fadwā ūqān’s Narrative Journey

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AbstractThis article offers a literary reading of Palestinian poet Fadwā ūqān’s autobiography, Rilah abah, rilah jabaliyyah (A Mountainous Journey, 1985). This text’s literary complexities have not yet been adequately addressed, despite the critical attention it has received. The present study maps this text’s central tension, namely, that on the one hand, it is populated by many characters and contains many voices, and on the other, that most of the voices which are sounded do not belong to the characters one might expect. In examining the voicings in this text, this study reveals how the text invokes genres not only through excerpting, but by writing in relation to traditional narrative structures, integrating them into a new context. It offers a reading of this text as an inverted rilah, that is, as a journey of one who cannot travel. It also argues that this text recalls the tradition of the short story cycle, showing how the purported linearity of the text is imbued with circularity in content, language and structure. By implicating other genres, the text subverts patriarchal tradition from within ostensibly masculine cultural and literary structures (such as the rilah), overlaying it with the more feminine-inclined framework of the short story cycle. In so doing, it challenges and extends the purport of the original texts, positioning them in dialogic conversation with ūqān’s criticism of them and her own textual compositions.

Affiliations: 1: Ben Gurion University of the Negev, URL:


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