Looking Back at al-Andalus

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.

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Alexander E. Elinson, Ph.D. (2004) in Middle East and Asian Languages and Cultures, Columbia University, is Assistant Professor of Arabic at Hunter College of the City University of New York. His research interests include medieval Arabic and Hebrew literature from Muslim Spain and North Africa.
« Au croisement de l’étude littéraire et de l’histoire des mentalités, Looking back at al-Andalus propose une réflexion intéressante sur les notions « d’ andalusité » et « d’arabité », sur les rapports entre l’Andalus, le Masriq et le Magrib, sur les interférences littéraires entre rhétorique arabe et hébraïque, etc. Il est d’une lecture agréable et féconde, sans préjuger des points de désaccord qu’il ne manquera pas de susciter chez certains lecteurs »
Katia Zakharia in BCAI 26 (2010).
All those interested in Arabic and Hebrew literature, medieval literature, comparative literature, Iberian studies, medieval Arab studies, medieval Judaic studies, and cultural studies.