AWEJ. Special Issue on Literature No.2   October, 2014                                      Pp. 5-16

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Mahmoud Darwish: “The Tale of the Tribe” 

 Mohammad Shaheen
University of Jordan , Amman, Jordan


In an attempt to develop his artistic bent, Darwish was moving from the lyricism of his early poetry to the dramatic effect of art, where the speaker disassociates himself from his subject and hides himself in language. One way of demonstrating this enterprise for Darwish is to let the tale tell the story of the tribe (the people of his homeland Palestine in exile) Coetzee, the renowned South African novelist once said: ” I tell this not to solicit pity but to let you see what happens”.It is as if Darwish re-echoes D.H. Lawrence’s words “trust the tale not the teller.” Or he may be remembering the words of his friend, Edward Said: “every Palestinian should tell his story”. i.e. the story here is the tale of the tribe which should tell itself to the world.
Key words: Lyric, dramatic, image, identity, exile, persona



Mohmmad Shaheen holds a Ph.D in English literature from Cambridge University (King’s). He
is a professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of Jordan and the author of
many books including E.M. Forster and the Politics of Imperialism. His translation of Why Did
You Leave the Horse Alone? Mahmoud Darwish has just come out from Hesperus Press London.