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.
"Decter offers lively and original literary interpretations ... and judiciously explores a wide range of literary influences and parallels, especially Arabic and Romance, that shaped--or may have shaped--the literature of Iberian Jewry and that inform our modern understanding of it." Suzanne Pinckney Stetkevych