Through a comparative and poststructuralist reading, I will examine the artistic manners in which a selection of Arab-American and Arabic literary texts builds a strategy of a poetics-of-suspended-crisis. By conceptualizing crisis through the discourse of violence, I examine three of its dimensions: crisis as a matter of discursive silencing and silence; crisis as a problem of structure in orientalism, and finally crisis as a textual event, which ultimately announces the detonation of silencing and silence. On this account, I distinguish between two modes of representation of crisis. The first concerns itself with narrating the repository of discursive censures over crises in the Middle East, and therefore aims to depoliticize the silences built over crisis. The second mode exemplifies a trend of inscribing crisis as an antagonistic condition of the text and language itself. My argument pays attention to some of the most esoteric and visceral literary strategies that may have remained repressed in Western frameworks of reading “world” or “ethnic” literatures. My selection of these texts is but a small sample concerned with aestheticizing violence as a fundamental mode of imagining crisis in order to allow new counterpoints of thinking it differently outside modern visions of apocalypse, paralysis, and psychosis.

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