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Representations of Exile and Return in Palestinian Literature

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Given the continued centrality of national identity among Palestinians, despite the absence of a nation-state of their own, and in light of their unfaltering endeavor to reconstitute their society which was destroyed sixty-seven years ago, the notions of exile and return have dominated their understanding of their calamity. Palestinian sociopolitical discourses and literary production have been premised on a presupposition that in the fullness of time their exile would be negated by return, thus leading to a resolution. This article aims to illustrate the evolution of this discourse in light of various, mostly unfavorable, events such as the 1967 War (the Naksah), the 1982 war in Lebanon, and the PLO’s exit from Beirut, as well as the early nineties and the Oslo “peace” process. A variety of literary texts, mostly poetry, are discussed as signifying the mutations that this discourse on exile and return has gone through.

Affiliations: 1: Ben-Gurion University of the Negev


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