Sanabel Abdel Rahman

Doctoral Candidate

Contact information

sanabel.abdelrahman@ 1 Deutschhausstraße 12
35032 Marburg
F|14 Institutsgebäude (Room: 00B01)

Organizational unit

Philipps-Universität Marburg Centrum für Nah- und Mittelost-Studien (CNMS) Arabic Studies

PhD Project

‘Oh Whale, Do Not Swallow Our Moon’: How Manifestations of Magical Realism Reflect and Challenge Distorted Palestinian Spaces in Literature

The topic of magical realism in Palestinian literature is scarcely discussed, especially in the context of the ongoing Nakbah. This research project investigates magical realism as a literary tool that reflects and challenges the distortion in Palestinian physical and metaphysical spaces occurring because of the Israeli apparatuses of settler colonialism. The forms of distortion, that include the physical occupation of the land, the maiming of the Palestinian body, erasure of memory, massacres, demolishment of houses and culture, refugeehood, and exile, are expressed in many ways in Palestinian literary texts.

The research aims to show how manifestations of magical realism in contemporary Palestinian literature act as potent tools in illuminating those distortions and re-creating Palestinian realities and dreams of liberation. It also argues that those manifestations challenge the distorted spaces through hope, remembrance, solidarity, and agency.

Magical realistic tropes such as ghosts and mythical creatures that revive Palestinian histories of resilience and connection to the land are investigated. Other prominent tropes such as dreams (and nightmares) as well as instances of anthropomorphism, resurrection, and martyrdom make up a considerable part of the project. Surrealism and absurdism, understood as offshoots of magical realism, are investigated against the backdrop of Palestinian agency and perseverance. Paratextual and intratextual aspects, such as the mirrored narrator implied in certain novels as well as the use of footnotes and introductions are analyzed from a magical realistic lens and metafictional writing as well.

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