A Matter of Geography: A New Perspective on Medieval Hebrew Poetry


A Matter of Geography: A New Perspective on Medieval Hebrew Poetry takes a ground-breaking approach to the relationships between centers of medieval Hebrew poetry and their implications regarding matters of poetics. It shows on the one hand how literary efforts by members of the Spanish school of secular poetry, from its zenith in the eleventh century to the thirteenth century, helped gradually shape its predominance. On the other hand, it presents thirteenth century Hebrew poets from Iraq, Egypt, Italy and Provence, and charts the different strategies of these “peripheral” authors, who had to cope with Iberian fame. The analysis, which draws on concepts from literary and cultural theories, provides close readings of many works in both the original Hebrew and, in most cases for the first time, an English translation.
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Biographical Note

Uriah Kfir, Ph.D. (2011), Tel Aviv University, is a Lecturer in medieval Hebrew poetry at the Department of Hebrew Literature of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel. He has published several articles in both English and Hebrew. This is his first book.

Table of contents

Transcription of Hebrew

Introduction: Center and Periphery

Part 1: Center

1 Distinction: Al-Andalus, Eleventh Century

2 Amplification: Between Al-Andalus and Christian Spain, Late Eleventh to the Early Twelfth Centuries

3 Promotion: From Spain to its Peripheries, Mid-Twelfth to Early Thirteenth Centuries

4 Preservation: Christian Spain, Thirteenth Century

Part 2: Periphery

Introduction to Part II: Periphery and Center

5 Competition: Iraq, Thirteenth Century

6 Equilibration: Egypt, Thirteenth Century

7 Vacillation: Italy, Late Thirteenth Century

8 De-territorialization: Provence, Late Thirteenth Century

Afterword: Center and Periphery?


All those interested in medieval Hebrew poetry, Jewish thought and history, as well as in the medieval Mediterranean. Any library, whether academic or non-academic, will find it of interest.


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