الكتابة بالعبرية الفصحى: تقديم رواية عربسك وحوار مع أنطون شماس / On Composing Hebraic Arabesque: Introduction and Dialogue with Anton Shammas



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صديق, محمد; Siddiq, Muhammad; شماس, أنطون; Shammas, Anton

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Research Article

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Alif: Journal of Comparative Poetics

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[After presenting a short historical background to the phenomenon of writing in the language of an Other across time, Siddiq introduces the acclaimed autobiographical novel 'Arabeskot, 1986 (Arabesques, 1988), written by the Palestinian novelist and poet Anton Shammas in Hebrew. Siddiq analyzes representative samples of critics' response to this novel, which by its mastery of literary Hebrew by a gentile poses a threat to the notion of Israeli identity made up of the correspondence of Israeli citizenship with Hebrew and Judaism. For an Arab to excel in the language that is deemed the prerogative of Jews disturbs the paradigm of citizenship in the Zionist state. Furthermore, Arabesques presents the story of oppression from the point of view of the victims and thus challenges both the colonizers' monologism and their ideological narrative. Shammas explains his paradoxical position. He started Arabesques in Arabic, but became concerned about his own family reading this autobiographical fiction. He shifted his idiom to Hebrew to avoid family intrusions as well as to venture provocatively into the holy of holies of Israeli nationalism. Fascinated by the Hebrew of the Old Testament combined with the feeling that writing in a non-mother tongue sharpens the creative tools as there are no set patterns to fall into, Shammas undertook the task. He feels that when he writes, and in any language, it is an act of love. Shammas, himself, views Hebrew as the language of forced migration and murder of the Palestinians, the language of the Zionist discourse which denies the very existence of the Palestinians; yet he considers languages as free of intentions, of good and evil, thus Shammas can enjoy Hebrew literature without allowing Israeli war criminals to rob him of the pleasure of the text.]

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