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This book discusses the “long fifteenth century” in Iberian history, between the 1391 pogroms and the forced conversions of Aragonese Muslims in 1526, a period characterized by persecutions, conversions and social violence, on the one hand, and cultural exchange, on the other. It was a historical moment of unstable religious ideas and identities, before the rigid turn taken by Spanish Catholicism by the middle of the sixteenth century; a period in which the physical and symbolic borders separating the three religions were transformed and redefined but still remained extraordinarily porous. The collection argues that the aggressive tone of many polemical texts has until now blinded historiography to the interconnected nature of social and cultural intimacy, above all in dialogue and cultural transfer in later medieval Iberia.
Contributors are Ana Echevarría, Gad Freudenthal, Mercedes García-Arenal, Maria Laura Giordano, Yonatan Glazer-Eytan, Eleazar Gutwirth, Felipe Pereda, Rosa M. Rodríguez Porto, Katarzyna K. Starczewska, John Tolan, Gerard Wiegers, and Yosi Yisraeli.
The Poetics of Loss and Nostalgia in Medieval Arabic and Hebrew Literature
Looking Back at al-Andalus focuses on Arabic and Hebrew Literature that expresses the loss of al-Andalus from multiple vantage points. In doing so, this book examines the definition of al-Andalus’ literary borders, the reconstruction of which navigates between traditional generic formulations and actual political, military and cultural challenges. By looking at a variety of genres, the book shows that literature aiming to recall and define al-Andalus expresses a series of symbolic literary objects more than a geographic and political entity fixed in a single time and place. Looking Back at al-Andalus offers a unique examination into the role of memory, language, and subjectivity in presenting a series of interpretations of what al-Andalus represented to different writers at different historical-cultural moments.