In the Presence of Absence: Mahmoud Darwish’s “Living on Border Lines”

Rasha Saeed Abdullah Badurais


The present paper is an attempt to analyze the autobiographical elegizing volume of Mahmoud Darwish, In the Presence of Absence (2006), in light of the main lines of Derrida’s article “Living On: Border Lines” (1978). As known almost all the oeuvre of Darwish is a reflection of his main issue, Palestine. Considering his life in the chosen exile outside his motherland without any approaching final solution along with realizing the approach of his death due to heart disease, Darwish decides to write his elegy portraying the spiral enigma (double invagination) of the story “récit” of his survival on the margins of life. He keeps wo/andering, in his discourse with his “other,” who triumphs “me, you, or death?” The endless multilayered worlds in which the narrator lives serve several goals. It is the dialectic between the fictional and the real, especially that the whole volume is autobiographical. It grants the author, Darwish, eternal life through the words, letters, and the poetry, he bequeaths his readers; and this supports the tendency that Darwish’s identity is a call for postnational identity. Finally, the whole multilayered volume corresponds with the paradoxical connotations of “triumph of/over life/death.”



Mahmoud Darwish; In the Presence of Absence; Jacques Derrida; Double invagination; Récit

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