Forcibly expelled from Spain in the early seventeenth century, the substantial Muslim community known as the moriscos left behind them a hidden yet extremely rich corpus of manuscripts. Copied out in Arabic script and concealed in walls, false floors, and remote caves, these little-known texts now offer modern readers an absorbing look into the cultural life of the moriscos during the hundred years between their forced conversion to Christianity and their eventual expulsion. Covert Gestures reveals how the traditional Islamic narratives of the moriscos both shaped and encoded a wide range of covert social activity characterized by a profound and persistent concern with time and temporality. Using a unique blend of literary analysis, linguistic anthropology, and phenomenological philosophy, Barletta explores the narratives as testimonials of past human experiences and discovers in them evidence of community resistance. In its interdisciplinary approach, Vincent Barletta's work is nothing less than a rewriting of the cultural history of Muslim Spain, as well as a replotting of the future course of medieval and early modern literary studies.
Though Alexander the Great lived more than seventeen centuries before the onset of Iberian expansion into Muslim Africa and Asia, he loomed large in the literature of late medieval and early modern Portugal and Spain. Exploring little-studied chronicles, chivalric romances, novels, travelogues, and crypto-Muslim texts, Vincent Barletta shows that the story of Alexander not only sowed the seeds of Iberian empire but foreshadowed the decline of Portuguese and Spanish influence in the centuries to come.
Death in Babylon depicts Alexander as a complex symbol of Western domination, immortality, dissolution, heroism, villainy, and death. But Barletta also shows that texts ostensibly celebrating the conqueror were haunted by failure. Examining literary and historical works in Aljamiado, Castilian, Catalan, Greek, Latin, and Portuguese, Death in Babylon develops a view of empire and modernity informed by the ethical metaphysics of French phenomenologist Emmanuel Levinas. A novel contribution to the literature of empire building, Death in Babylon provides a frame for the deep mortal anxiety that has infused and given shape to the spread of imperial Europe from its very beginning.
In this anthology, Vincent Barletta, Mark L. Bajus, and Cici Malik treat the Iberian lyric in the late Middle Ages and early modernity as a deeply multilingual, transnational genre that needs to break away from the old essentialist ideas about language, geography, and identity in order to be understood properly. More and more, scholars and students are recognizing the limitations of single-language, nationalist, and period-bound canons and are looking for different ways to approach the study of literature. The Iberian Peninsula is an excellent site for this approach, where the history and politics of the region, along with its creative literature, need to be read and studied together with the way the works were composed by poets and eventually consumed by readers.
With a generous selection of more than one hundred poems from thirty-three poets, Dreams of Waking is unique in its coverage of the three main languages—Catalan, Portuguese, and Spanish—and lyrical styles employed by peninsular poets. It contains new translations of canonical poems but also translations of many poems that have never before been edited or translated. Brief headnotes provide essential details of the poets’ lives, and a general introduction by the volume editors shows how the poems and languages fruitfully intersect. With helpful annotations to the poetry, as well as a selected bibliography containing the most important editions and translations from all three of the main Iberian languages, this volume will be an indispensable tool for both specialists and students in comparative literature.
Conquered in 1492 and colonized by invading Castilians, the city and kingdom of Granada faced radical changes imposed by its occupiers throughout the first half of the sixteenth century—including the forced conversion of its native Muslim population. Written by Francisco Núñez Muley, one of many coerced Christian converts, this extraordinary letter lodges a clear-sighted, impassioned protest against the unreasonable and strongly assimilationist laws that required all converted Muslims in Granada to dress, speak, eat, marry, celebrate festivals, and be buried exactly as the Castilian settler population did.
Now available in its first English translation, Núñez Muley’s account is an invaluable example of how Spain’s former Muslims made active use of the written word to challenge and openly resist the progressively intolerant policies of the Spanish Crown. Timely and resonant—given current debates concerning Islam, minorities, and cultural and linguistic assimilation—this edition provides scholars in a range of fields with a vivid and early example of resistance in the face of oppression.