The Lure of the Title is a study of novels and short stories written by members of the Palestinian minority in Israel between the years 1948 and 2012. The study attempts to trace the position of the Palestinian dialect: its presence and absence in the titles of works of literature, chapters, etc. Based on a semiotic perspective, the study examines the social, cultural and political role of dialect in the formation of this literature. The focus is on the semiotic triangle of title, text and context in order to clarify the position, role and tendencies of this literature in the Arab and local literary sphere, from the synchronic and diachronic perspectives alike.
This is a pioneering study in Palestinian literature, undertaken with contemporary literary-linguistic tools to define key thematic issues in Palestinian literature at the present time. It is hoped that the emerging tapestry of ethnic history, literary poetics and ethno-politics evoked by the recent Palestinian experience brings into view certain deep-rooted tensions in the region, thereby breaking fresh ground in the complementary realms of literature and politics in a Middle Eastern modality.
Mahmud Ghanayim relies on a fairly large corpus of novels and short stories written by Najwā Qaʿwār Faraḥ, Emile Ḥabībī, Muṣṭafā Murrār, Ḥannā Ibrāhīm, Muḥammad Naffāʿ, Muḥammad ʿAlī Ṭāhā, Nājī Ẓāhir, Fāṭima Dhiyāb, Riyāḍ Baydas, Suhayl Kīwān, Maysūn Asadī, and ʿAlāʾ Ḥlēḥil. This group of littérateurs represents various periods, genders and religions, here approached from the vantage point of a broad referential space comprising inter alia a nuanced spectrum of ideological, literary and cultural concepts.