Makers of Worlds, Readers of Signs
Israeli and Palestinian Literature of the Global Contemporary
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304 pages / September 2019 / 9781788737579
September 2019 / 9781788735582

A sweeping new theory of world literature through a study of Palestinian and Israeli fiction from the 1940s to the present

Makers of Worlds, Readers of Signs presents a new theoretical and historical approach to Israeli and Palestinian literature, as well as to the contemporary system of world literature, one that accounts for the consequences of neoliberal globalization. Cohen Lustig proposes that, prior to the neoliberal moment, socio-poetic form was defined by concepts of autonomy and temporality: in Western Europe autonomy is defined as a ready-made property of the individual subject; in Israel and Palestine, between the 1940s and the 1990s, autonomy was the ground for debate over collective political and aesthetic projects.

In the global neoliberal period, after 1985 in Israel and the 1993 Oslo Accords in Palestine, when privatization escalated in the region, social life and literature began to revolve around the experience of subjects for whom the world was no longer an object to be made but a text to be read. In this historical condition, Israeli and Palestinian literature narrated the political conditions of local life in a way that exceeded the nation state and questioned the coherence of private life.

To see this transformation requires a new concept of global literature that can track the development of subjectivity and aesthetics through larger shifts in politics and economic production.

With a foreword by Fredric Jameson.


“It is refreshing to read an analysis of Israeli and Palestinian literatures that centers not on identity—national, religious, ethnic, or gender—but rather on the effects of capitalism on politics and culture.”

“Cohen Lustig has identified a historical trend, and he presents a solid analysis supporting his argument. The historical-theoretical undertaking in this book is both thorough and a joy to read. This work is a worthy and novel contribution to the library of Palestinian historical and literary studies.”

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