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Poetic Trespass: Between Hebrew and Arabic in Israel/Palestine

November 19, 2014 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm



Lital Levy & Benjamin Conisbee Baer in Conversation — Poetic Trespass: Writing Between Hebrew and Arabic in Israel/Palestine
Wednesday, November 19th, 2014 at 6PM — Labyrinth Books Princeton
Lital Levy presents a captivating portrait of the literary imagination’s power to transgress political boundaries and transform ideas about language and belonging. Joining her in conversation about these urgent topics is Levy’s colleague at Princeton, Benjamin Conisbee Baer.


A Palestinian-Israeli poet declares a new state whose language, “Homelandic,” is a combination of Arabic and Hebrew. A Jewish-Israeli author imagines a “language plague” that infects young Hebrew speakers with old world accents, and sends the narrator in search of his Arabic heritage. In Poetic Trespass, Levy brings together such startling visions to offer the first in-depth study of the relationship between Hebrew and Arabic in the literature and culture of Israel/Palestine.


Blending history and literature, Poetic Trespass traces the interwoven life of Arabic and Hebrew in Israel/Palestine from the turn of the twentieth century to the present, exposing the two languages’ intimate entanglements in contemporary works of prose, poetry, film, and visual art by both Palestinian and Jewish citizens of Israel. In a context where intense political and social pressures work to identify Jews with Hebrew and Palestinians with Arabic, Levy finds writers who have boldly crossed over this divide to create literature in the language of their “other,” as well as writers who bring the two languages into dialogue to rewrite them from within.


Lital Levy is assistant professor of comparative literature at Princeton University, where she teaches Modern Hebrew and Arabic literatures and literary theory. Benjamin Conisbee Baer is Associate Professor of Comparative Literature, also at Princeton. He is the translator of The Tale of Hansuli Turn. His book, Modernity’s Mouths: Indigenous Vanguards and Transnational Modernism in the Interwar World, is forthcoming from Columbia University Press.


November 19, 2014
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm


Labyrinth Bookstore
122 Nassau Street