Framing Iberia

Maqāmāt and Frametale Narratives in Medieval Spain


Framing Iberia is a study of medieval Iberian culture observed through the lens of the frametale, a type of story collection cultivated by medieval Iberian authors in several languages. Its best known examples outside of Iberia are Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, Boccaccio’s Decameron, and the Thousand and One Nights. In Framing Iberia the author relocates the Castilian classics El Conde Lucanor and El Libro de buen amor within a literary tradition that includes works in Arabic, Hebrew, Latin, and Romance. In doing so, he draws on current critical theory and cultural studies in reevaluating how the multicultural society of medieval Iberia is reflected in its narrative literature. Winner of the 2009 La corónica International Book Award for scholarship in Medieval Hispanic Languages, Literatures, and Cultures.

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David A. Wacks, Ph.D. (2003) in Hispanic Literatures, University of California at Berkeley, is Assistant Professor of Spanish at the University of Oregon. His research centers on the intersection of Romance, Hebrew, and Arabic cultural production in medieval Iberia.
“...By presenting the various points of the frame-tale tradition in Iberia as revolving parts of a literature unified through genre and form, Wacks has succeeded in creating a capacious frame for analyzing this manifold tradition that will prove foundational for twenty-first century scholars and their students, including my own...”
The Medieval Review, 5 September 2008, Ryan Szpiech

“...Sin duda, estamos ante un estudio riguroso y bien fundamentado, aunque también discutible en no pocos aspectos y con numerosas hipótesis que se prestan al debate. Pero, creo, que este es uno de sus mayores méritos: el habernos propuesto una perspectiva de lectura innovadora y una comprensión diferente de la literatura del medievo. Es una apuesta arriesgada pero también valiosa pues nos interpela como investigadores y también como aficionados a las obras medievales compuestas en la península Ibérica, sea cual sea la lengua en que fueron escritas y contadas....”
Sefarad, 68.1 (2008): pp. 233-36, Auroria Salvatierra Ossorio

“…In this book David Wacks has written one of the most complete studies of medieval framed narrative in" Iberia to date. Wacks brings to bear his expertise in Latin, Arabic, Hebrew, Catalan, and Castilian to demonstrate that the frame tale and maqāma form an essentially Iberian genre produced over a period of four centuries in a cultural polysystem that synthesized literary practices from Muslim, Jewish, and Christian communities. Furthermore, Wacks contends that the origins of the European frame tale can be traced to the Iberian Peninsula, and he contextualizes his chapters within a larger European literary history. Framing Iberia will be an important and reliable reference for scholars working on the short story and frame tale in general, beyond the boundaries of medieval Iberia… As a book that has that worldview at the center of its thesis, Framing Iberia is both a comprehensive study of the frame tale and a sensitive cultural history of Spain…”
Speculum 83.4 (2008): pp. 1052-53, Jonathan Burgoyne
Acknowledgements .. ix
Transliteration of Arabic .. xiii
Transliteration of Hebrew .. xv

Introduction .. 1

Chapter One: Writing Across the Frontier .. 17
Chapter Two: Storytelling and Performance in Medieval
Iberian Frametale and Maqāma .. 41
Chapter Th ree: Th e Cultural Context of the Translation of
Calila e Dimna .. 86
Chapter Four: Reconquest Ideology and Andalusī Narrative
Practice in the Conde Lucanor .. 129
Chapter Five: Th e Libro de buen amor and the Medieval
Iberian Maqāma .. 157
Chapter Six: Social Change, Misogyny, and the Maqāma
in Jaume Roig’s Spill .. 194

Works Cited .. 237

Index .. 265
All those interested in medieval literature, Hispanic studies, Arabic and Hebrew literature, medieval Judaism, Sephardic studies, and narratology.
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