The Arts of Intimacy: Christians, Jews, and Muslims in the Making of Castilian Culture

The Arts of Intimacy: Christians, Jews, and Muslims in the Making of Castilian Culture

by Jerrilynn D. Dodds, Maria Rosa Menocal, Abigail Krasner Balbale
     
 

Named a Book of the Year by the Times Literary Supplement, this lavishly illustrated work explores the vibrant interaction among different and sometimes opposing cultures, and how their contacts with one another transformed them all. It chronicles the tumultuous history of Castile in the wake of the Christian capture of the Islamic city of

Overview

Named a Book of the Year by the Times Literary Supplement, this lavishly illustrated work explores the vibrant interaction among different and sometimes opposing cultures, and how their contacts with one another transformed them all. It chronicles the tumultuous history of Castile in the wake of the Christian capture of the Islamic city of Tulaytula, now Toledo, in the eleventh century and traces the development of Castilian culture as it was forged in the new intimacy of Christians with the Muslims and Jews they had overcome. 

The authors paint a portrait of the culture through its arts, architecture, poetry and prose, uniquely combining literary and visual arts. Concentrating on the eleventh and twelfth centuries, the book reveals the extent to which Castilian identity is deeply rooted in the experience of confrontation, interaction, and at times union with Hebrew and Arabic cultures during the first centuries of its creation. Abundantly illustrated, the volume serves as a splendid souvenir of southern Spain; beautifully written, it illuminates a culture deeply enriched by others.

Editorial Reviews

New York Review of Books

“The art, the architecture, and the poetry produced in the medieval Iberian peninsula are of such astonishing quality that a survey, especially when it is as intelligent and well presented as this one, can hardly fail both to illuminate and instruct.” –J.H. Elliott, New York Review of Books

— J.H. Elliott

Times Literary Supplement

The Arts of Intimacy creates a composite close-up of a part of Spain usually associated with rock-solid Catholic oppression and authority…explored here subtly and richly.”--Times Literary Supplement

— Marina Warner

Times Higher Education (UK)

“The compelling story of the complex entangling of Christian, Muslim, and Jewish history, culture, literature and art in medieval Iberia has been told many times before…But it has never been told like this…A rich tapestry of a book that brings to vivid life the dialectic of acculturation and assimilation in which medieval Spain’s three religious groups were enmeshed.”--Jill Ross, Times Higher Education (UK)

— Jill Ross

Catholic Herald

“…beautiful and gorgeously illustrated. . . .this is a fascinating trawl through a forgotten time.”—Catholic Herald

Medium Aevum

"Through its clear narrative and its elegant style , and thanks to its affordable price, Arts of Intimacy works to render a fascinating and complex topic more widely accessible to a general readership."--Andrea Weisl-Shaw, Medium Aevum

— Andrea Weisl-Shaw

Catholic Historical Review

"Beautifully written and lavishly illustrated, the book represents a distinguished contribution to our understanding of the cosmopolitan world of medieval Iberia."—Catholic Historical Review

Speculum--A Journal of Medieval Studies

"[The Arts of Intimacy] unfolds as a complex interlacing of literary, visual, and historical evidence that challenges the idealized notion of medieval Iberian convivencia, or peaceful coexistence, with nuanced interpretations of crossdisciplinary evidence. The text''s high points are thoroughly enjoyable."—María Judith Feliciano, Speculum--A Journal of Medieval Studies

— Mar�a Judith Feliciano

New York Review of Books - J.H. Elliott

“The art, the architecture, and the poetry produced in the medieval Iberian peninsula are of such astonishing quality that a survey, especially when it is as intelligent and well presented as this one, can hardly fail both to illuminate and instruct.” –J.H. Elliott, New York Review of Books

Angelika Neuwirth

"Jerrilynn D.Dodds’, Maria Rosa Menocal and Abigail Krasner’s Balbale’s Arts of Intimacy: Christians, Jews, and Muslims in the Making of Castilian Culture stands out in every respect: it is challenging, thorough, and compelling. Its importance lies in conveying the unique cultural and linguistic polyphony of the nascent Castilian culture. Iconographic testimonies from architecture, epigraphy and calligraphy orchestrate the historical voices expressed in an unprecedentedly rich multilingual poetry. A startling and provocative book that puts an end to any essentialist claim to be laid on this exceptional part of Europe."—Angelika Neuwirth

Gabriel Martinez-Gros

"A delightful blend of poetry and solid science. How a nation was born out of fascination for the enemy it was victoriously fighting, gaining momentum 'with each meal shared, or bridle admired, each textile or ivory box received in tribute', and with each story told."—Gabriel Martinez-Gros

Samuel G. Armistead

"All Medievalists should welcome and treasure this splendid book. Here we see, in an innovative and eminently convincing perspective, the unique phenomenon of medieval Iberia, as a collaborative and also as a conflictive creation of Castilians belonging to the three religions. As much for scholars interested in literature and language, as for those concerned with art and architecture, this book will be 'must' reading. Dodds, Menocal, and Krasner Balbale deserve our thanks and our congratulations."—Samuel G. Armistead

Times Literary Supplement - Marina Warner

The Arts of Intimacy creates a composite close-up of a part of Spain usually associated with rock-solid Catholic oppression and authority…explored here subtly and richly.”—Times Literary Supplement

Times Higher Education (UK) - Jill Ross

“The compelling story of the complex entangling of Christian, Muslim, and Jewish history, culture, literature and art in medieval Iberia has been told many times before…But it has never been told like this…A rich tapestry of a book that brings to vivid life the dialectic of acculturation and assimilation in which medieval Spain’s three religious groups were enmeshed.”—Jill Ross, Times Higher Education (UK)

Medium Aevum - Andrea Weisl-Shaw

"Richly illustrated. . . . Deliberately accessible. . . . Through its clear narrative and its elegant style , and thanks to its affordable price, Arts of Intimacy works to render a fascinating and complex topic more widely accessible to a general readership."—Andrea Weisl-Shaw, Medium Aevum

Speculum-A Journal of Medieval Studies - María Judith Feliciano

"[The Arts of Intimacy] unfolds as a complex interlacing of literary, visual, and historical evidence that challenges the idealized notion of medieval Iberian convivencia, or peaceful coexistence, with nuanced interpretations of crossdisciplinary evidence. The text's high points are thoroughly enjoyable."—María Judith Feliciano, Speculum—A Journal of Medieval Studies

Library Journal

This handsomely produced and generously illustrated book explores the praxis of medieval Castilian culture inherited by Catholic kings. Iberia's great medieval cities-Córdoba, Seville, and Toledo-forged via the confrontations of the existing Arabic, Jewish, and Latin cultures a unique cultural identity from the 11th through the 14th centuries. Dodds (The Art of Medieval Spain, A.D. 500-1200) and others closely examine the arts, architecture, and literary products created in "Christian" Castile and make a compelling case for the so-called whole being greater than the sum of its parts. This impressive work of scholarship offers a vision of a complex albeit paradoxical relationship among the monotheistic religions that was so essential to the production of the cultural artifacts produced in pre-Columbian Iberia. In fact, it becomes obvious that the remarkable "golden age" of arts and culture of 16th- and 17th-century Spanish culture could not have existed had it not been for the multilingual culture that had preceded it. An important addition to the scholarship of medieval Iberia.
—Herbert E. Shapiro

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780300106091
Publisher:
Yale University Press
Publication date:
11/04/2008
Series:
A Council on Foreign Relations Book Series
Pages:
416
Product dimensions:
7.30(w) x 9.90(h) x 1.20(d)

Meet the Author

Jerrilynn D. Dodds is distinguished professor and senior faculty advisor to the provost for undergraduate education, City College of New York. She lives in New York City. María Rosa Menocal is director, Whitney Humanities Center, and Sterling Professor of the Humanities, Yale University. Her previous book, The Ornament of the World: How Muslims, Jews, and Christians Created a Culture of Tolerance in Medieval Spain, has been translated into seven languages. She lives in New York City. Abigail Krasner Balbale is a candidate for the Ph.D. in history and Middle Eastern studies at Harvard University, where she focuses on the cultural history of medieval Iberia. This is her first book.

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