Covert Gestures: Crypto-Islamic Literature as Cultural Practice in Early Modern Spain

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U of Minnesota Press - 202 pages
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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.
 

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Contents

1 Toward an ActivityCentered Approach to AljamiadoMorisco Narrative
1
2 Written Narrative and the Human Dimension of Time
31
3 Contexts of Rediscovery Contexts of Use
56
4 The Prophet Is Born Muslims Are Made
79
5 A Morisco Philosophy of Suffering and Action
104
6 Language Ideologies and Poetic Form
133
Conclusions
156
Acknowledgments
161
Notes
163
Bibliography
178
Index
197
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Page xiii - In short, the practically cognized present is no knife-edge, but a saddle-back, with a certain breadth of its own on which we sit perched, and from which we look in two directions into time.

About the author

Vincent Barletta is assistant professor of medieval Iberian literature at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

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