“Literature and the politics of Palestinian identity" lays out the intellectual activity of the Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish. Edward Said’s well thought out discussion of the role of the public intellectual provides a relevant mechanism for disentangling the complex persona of Darwish — on the one hand as a poet, and on the other hand as a public figure who tries to speak the truth to power and “represent all those people and issues that are routinely forgotten or swept under the rug.”
This book fills a void in the political biography of Mahmoud Darwish and in the study of poets in national movements in general. Its examines Darwish’s status and role as an intellectual in Palestinian politics, examining the lyrical and rhetorical aspects of his poetry and prose, and the background in which his works were written, as well as his public and private statements and deeds in the context of the Palestinian national movement.
Based on primary sources, including extensive citations, primarily from the poet himself, this book is a multi-disciplinary contribution to several fields: Arab and Palestinian literature, Palestinian literature and politics, intellectuals and their national struggle, intellectual political criticism and activism.