A Study of the Dramatic Structure in the Poetry of Mahmoud Darwish from 1967 to 1987

  • Anas Alhumam

Student thesis: Phd


This thesis aims to examine the poetry of the well-known Palestinian poet, Mahmoud Darwish (1941-2008). It focuses on the use of the dramatic structure in his work with reference to major historic events that occurred between 1967 and 1987, namely the 1967 Naksa, the 1982 Siege of Beirut, the 1982 Sabra and Shatila Massacre, and the 1987 First Intifada. When combined with his experience of exile and diaspora, these tragic events have had a major influence on his poetry, his own cultural identity, his memory, and his voice. These events are also turning points in the development of the renowned poet’s work and have inspired him to use new themes, styles, structures, and viewpoints, including the use of the dramatic structure, in his poetry. This thesis endeavours to explain the use of the dramatic structure in Darwish’s work displaying the dialogues, scenes, anecdotes, and different voices, as well as intertextuality with other religious, historical and literary texts. In addition, the thesis explains the concepts of dialogism, intertextuality and social heteroglossia in his work and addresses the issue of interplay between narrative and lyric discourse in his long poems. This thesis will also explore the themes of cultural identity and difference, past memory, new memory and the subaltern voices in Darwish’s work, with emphasis on the transformations of memory in his post-Naksa work. It will explain how he presents the counter-memory/discourse that is against colonial discourse and memory. Furthermore, the thesis addresses the poet’s dialogue when he speaks of the battle of memory: whether to recall the Palestinian (collective) national memory or discontinue it. Furthermore, the thesis analyses the development of Darwish’s own cultural identity and discourse post-Naksa and the renewal of national identity in order to configure a mixture of identities and confirm the ambivalence of colonised culture that is unfixed and changeable. It will explore how Darwish attempts to re-construct the (Palestinian) national myth, memory and identity in contemporary context through his post-Naksa work.
Date of Award1 Aug 2020
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorDalia Mostafa (Supervisor) & Zahia Smail Salhi (Supervisor)

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