A Poetic ‘Write!’ vs. a Qur’anic‘Read!’ The Prophetic Anxiety of Mahmüd Darwısh

Middle East Studies Online Journal- ISSN 2109-9618- Issue n°6. Volume 3 ( Summer 2011)

Etudes  du Moyen-Orient. N°6. Volume 3. ( Eté 2011)

.2011دراسات الشرق الأوسط، مجلة فكرية محكمة. العدد السادس . المجلد الثالث صيف


By: Balqis Al-Karaki*


Abstract. This article explores a poem by the famous Palestinian poet Mahmud Darwish, and argues for his suffering from an ‘anxiety of influence’—a claim made by Harold Bloom regarding the psychological struggles of poets with their precursors. The poem under question refers to a well–known, founding text in the Islamic tradition; the text of revelation where Gabriel asks Prophet Muhammad to ‘read’. In Darwish’s poem, the prophet is replaced by a poet, whom a transcendental figure asks to ‘write’. This study examines the implications of this replacement, in view of Bloom’s theory in particular, alongside some other accounts of influence and intertextuality taken from Arabic and Western critical traditions.



Keywords: Mahmud Darwish; Arabic Poetry; Influence; Intertextuality; Harold Bloom



Download the full paper (PDF):

A Poetic ‘Write!’ vs. a Qur’anic‘Read!’

* Assistant Professor, Faculty of Arts – University of Jordan, Amman 11942.
Institutional email: b.alkaraki@ju.edu.jo
2010-2011 Fulbright Visiting Scholar. Philosophy Dept.  Columbia University.


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