In Search of the Truth: A Sufi Reading of Modern Palestinian Literature, 1950-2010
This research aims to address the connection between Sufism and modern Arabic Literature (specifically, Palestinian literature).
Although Sufism has had a constant profound influence on Arab society with an increased interest from the second half of the twentieth century onwards, the study of Sufi elements in modern Arabic literature has been little explored, leaving the understanding of how Sufism works in modern Arabic literature general and superficial. This research wants to address the connection between Sufism and modern Arabic Literature (specifically, Palestinian literature), by (1) providing an overview of Sufi elements employed (2) examining how they have been adjusted to fit the modern Arab society and (3) linking these to the specific circumstances of Palestinian society and culture.
By reading samples of the work of the Palestinian author Hussein Barghouti through a Sufi lens, the aim of this research is to study how narrative elements such as the journey, exile and return are used by this author, and what this tells us about his world view and the role that the local versus the universal plays in the shaping of literary expressions. I have chosen to focus on Barghouti because he provides new definitions of these notions that go beyond their traditional definitions in the Palestinian literary context. Reading Barghouti’s work through a different lens (Sufism) helps in showing the versatility of the Palestinian experience. Instead of saying that Barghouti writes outside the canon of Modern Palestinian literature, it will be argued that Barghouti’s works widen the body of Palestinian literature and offer new insights about Palestinian life and literature.