Synopses & Reviews
This stimulating and graceful book explores Iberian Jewish attitudes toward cultural transition during the 12th and 13th centuries, when growing intolerance toward Jews in Islamic al-Andalus and the southward expansion of the Christian Reconquista led to the relocation of Jews from Islamic to Christian domains. By engaging literary topics such as imagery, structure, voice, landscape, and geography, Jonathan P. Decter traces attitudes toward transition that range from tenacious longing for the Islamic past to comfort in the Christian environment. Through comparison with Arabic and European vernacular literatures, Decter elucidates a medieval Hebrew poetics of estrangement and nostalgia, poetic responses to catastrophe, and the refraction of social issues in fictional narratives.
Published with the generous support of the Koret Foundation.
"Through comparison with Arabic and European vernacular literatures, Decter elucidates a medieval Hebrew poetics of estrangement and nostalgia, poetic responses to catastrophe, and the refraction of social issues in fictional narratives." --Joseph Haberer, Book Editor, SHOFAR, Volume 27, Number 2, Fall 2008 Indiana University Press
"[A] most welcome and unique contribution to medieval Hebrew literary studies. Its scholarship is sound, it offers excellent translations of many primary texts, and its prose is well written." --Ross Brann, Cornell University
"Contextualizing Jewish-Hebrew culture in the Iberian (Islamo-Arabic and Christian-Latin-Romance) environment, Decter explores issues such as homeland and exile, identity, estrangement, nostalgia, cultural boundaries, hybridity. These issues maintain a vital dialogue with comtemporary literary criticism and cultural studies." --Tova Rosen, Tel Aviv University
"[Decter] brings to bear a vast array of scholarship from the Arabic and Romance fields, as well as medieval Hebrew literature." --Suzanne Pinckney Stetkevych, Indiana University
The poetics of Iberian Jewish culture in transition between Islamic and Christian worlds
About the Author
Jonathan P. Decter is Assistant Professor and holds the Edmond J. Safra Chair in Sephardic Studies, Department of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies, Brandeis University.
Table of Contents
Part 1. Poetry
1. Space: Landscape and Transition
2. Form: Varieties of Lamentation and Estrangement
3. Imagery: The Protean Garden
Part 2. Narrative
4. Context: Imagining Hebrew Fiction between Arabic and European Sources
5. Structure: Literature in Transition
6. Voice: Maqama and Morality
7. Space: Landscape, Geography, and Transition
Conclusion: Out of the Garden