Anton Shammas’s 1986 novel Arabesques has been the subject of much literary criticism and on-going discussions in Hebrew literature circles. This article argues that existing interpretations of this work share a fundamental similarity to the extent that they assume Arabesques to be a novel whose primary aim is to depict a certain kind of subject, in accordance with the complicated emplacement of Shammas as a Palestinian writing in Hebrew. Against such interpretations, we suggest that Arabesques is better understood as a text that resists the process of subject formation as linked to Althusser’s notion of ideology. Instead, Shammas explores the possibilities inherent in fictionality itself. Fiction, in our reading, is an alternative practice that opens up new possibilities for identity formations and for political criticism which are tied neither to ideology nor to the Althusserian interpellated subject. While departing from previous readings of the novel, these claims nevertheless stand in a line of descent with their predecessors.
and Grinberg, Omri.
""You Prefer Your Enemies Simple and Well Defined": Reading Anton Shammas’ Arabesques as a Novel that Strategically Resists Interpellation."
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