Poetic Trespass: Writing between Hebrew and Arabic in Israel/Palestine

Thursday, October 15, 2015 - 5:30pm - 6:45pm
Annenberg School for Communication 
Room 111, 3620 Walnut Street

Lital Levy, Associate Professor, Comparative Literature, Princeton University; and Katz Center Fellow

Blending history and literature, Lital Levy’s award-winning book Poetic Trespass traces the interwoven lives of Arabic and Hebrew in Israel/Palestine from the turn of the twentieth century to the present, as expressed in prose, poetry, film, and visual art. It delves into the intimate entanglement of the two languages in the work of Jewish and Palestinian authors who, defying intense political and social pressures, choose to write in the language of the Other or to rewrite their own language from within. In this talk, Levy discusses the “presence of absence” as a shared trope of recent Palestinian and Jewish-Israeli discourses, with an emphasis on writings of Mahmoud Darwish, Almog Behar, and Ayman Sikseck.

Lital Levy is Associate Professor of Comparative Literature at Princeton University, where she teaches Hebrew and Arabic literatures, Jewish studies, and literary theory. This year she is a fellow at Penn's Herbert D. Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies. Previously, she was a Junior Fellow at the Harvard Society of Fellows. She specializes in contact zones of Arabic and Hebrew. Her research encompasses the intellectual history of Arab Jews; literature and film from Israel/Palestine; the question of Jewish literature as world literature; and comparative modern non-Western "renaissance" and "enlightenment" movements. Her book Poetic Trespass examines questions of multilingualism, translation, and the cultural politics of language in Israel/Palestine. It has been awarded the Jordan Schnitzer Book Award from the Association of Jewish Studies in the category of literature.


Sponsored by the Near Eastern Languages & Civilizations department, Comparative Literature Program, Middle East Center, and the Jewish Studies Program. 

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