Makers of Worlds, Readers of Signs
Israeli and Palestinian Literature of the Global Contemporary
Kfir Cohen, Fredric Jameson
A sweeping new theory of world literature through a study of Palestinian and Israeli literature from the 1940s to the present
Makers of Worlds, Readers of Signs charts the aesthetic and political formation of neoliberalism and globalization in Israeli and Palestinian literature from the 1940s to the present. By tracking literature’s move from making worlds to reading signs, Cohen Lustig proposes a new way to read theorize our global contemporary. Cohen Lustig argues that the period of Israeli statism and its counterpart of Palestinian statelessness produced works that sought to make and create whole worlds and social time—create the new state of Israel, preserve collective visions of Palestinian statehood.
During the period of neoliberalism, the period after 1985 in Israel and the 1993 Oslo Accords in Palestine, literature became about the reading of signs, where politics and history are now rearticulated through the private lives of individual subjects. Here characters do not make social time but live within it and inquire after its missing origin. Cohen Lustig argues for new ways to track the subjectivities and aesthetics produced by larger shifts in production. In so doing, he proposes a new model to understand the historical development of Israeli and Palestinian literature as well as world literature in our contemporary moment. With a preface from Fredric Jameson.