The Epic of Juan Latino: Dilemmas of Race and Religion in Renaissance Spain

The Epic of Juan Latino: Dilemmas of Race and Religion in Renaissance Spain

by Elizabeth Wright

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In The Epic of Juan Latino, Elizabeth R. Wright tells the story of Renaissance Europe’s first black poet and his epic poem on the naval battle of Lepanto, Austrias Carmen (The Song of John of Austria).

Piecing together the surviving evidence, Wright traces Latino’s life in Granada, Iberia’s last Muslim metropolis, from his early clandestine education as a slave in a noble household to his distinguished career as a schoolmaster at the University of Granada. When intensifying racial discrimination and the chaos of the Morisco Revolt threatened Latino’s hard-won status, he set out to secure his position by publishing an epic poem in Latin verse, the Austrias Carmen, that would demonstrate his mastery of Europe’s international literary language and celebrate his own African heritage.

Through Latino’s remarkable, hitherto untold story, Wright illuminates the racial and religious tensions of sixteenth-century Spain and the position of black Africans within Spain’s nascent empire and within the emerging African diaspora.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781442625556
Publisher: University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division
Publication date: 08/04/2016
Series: Toronto Iberic
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 288
File size: 6 MB

About the Author

Elizabeth R. Wright is a professor of Spanish in the Department of Romance Languages at the University of Georgia.

Table of Contents

Introduction: A Lost Portrait and a Forgotten Name


Part I: From Slave to Freedman in Granada

Chapter 1: Latin Lessons Amid the Remnants of Al-Andalus

Chapter 2: Civil War, Shattered Convivencia


Part II: The Epic of Lepanto

Chapter 3: A Black Poet and a Habsburg Phoenix

Chapter 4: Christians and Muslims on the Battle Lines

Chapter 5: The Costs of Modern Warfare

Conclusion: Song of the Black Swan

Epilogue: Juan Latino in the Harlem Renaissance


Appendix 1: Elegy for Philip II, Annotated Translation

Appendix 2: Chronology

What People are Saying About This

Katie Harris

“In The Epic of Juan Latino, Elizabeth R. Wright digs deep to uncover Latino’s document trail. Wright’s ability to bring together literary and historical studies as well as her lucid writing style has resulted in a beautifully written and refreshing book.”

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