This essay adapts Theodor Adorno's conception of modernism to Arab and Palestinian historical conditions and argues that it is crucial for understanding the emergence and contours of Palestinian modernism. Key features, such as the disintegration of the individual and history as nightmare, are read as expressing a new Arab conjuncture. Defined by the dominance of a repressive Arab oil society and by the collapse of a region-wide revolutionary potential from the 1970s onward, its symptoms are: the bureaucratization of Palestinian politics, the Lebanese civil war, and the fall of Beirut in 1982. Palestinian modernist novels emerge in this context both to mark the end of Arab and Palestinian praxis and to resist its revolutionary recoil. Jabra Ibrahim Jabra and Abdelrahman Munif's coauthored novel World without Maps (1982) and Jabra's The Other Rooms (1986) are discussed as emblematizing this crisis of knowledge and representation.
Skip Nav Destination
Bashir Abu-Manneh; Tonalities of Defeat and Palestinian Modernism. the minnesota review 1 November 2015; 2015 (85): 56–79. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00265667-3144652
Download citation file: