CULTURAL CONTACT IN THE IBERIAN PENINSULA BETWEEN ISLAM AND CHRISTIANITY, AS REFLECTED IN SPECIMEN TEXTS OF EARLY CASTILIAN LITERATURE: PRIMERA CRONICA GENERAL, CALILA E DILINA AND EL CONDE LUCANOR.
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This thesis is an investigation, on the basis of three texts chosen from early Castilian literature, of the importance of thirteenth and fourteenth century Castilian as a vehicle by which information about Islam and the Muslims reached the Christian West. In the Middle Ages, the Iberian Peninsula was in a special position for the transmission of culture, for there, Christian and Muslim communities existed alongside each other. Two authors, Alphonso X of Castile and Don Juan Manuel, recommended themselves for study as they both had contacts with Muslims and produced works containing references to Islam and the Muslims. Of their work, specific texts were chosen to provide evidence of culture contact: Primera Cronica General, Calila e Dimna and El Conde Lucanor. In the thesis, three main questions are posed: firstly, what knowledge was possessed by Christian Spaniards of the Islamic culture, especially as it flourished in Southern Spain; secondly, what sort of cultural material of Islamic origin was most readily transmitted; and thirdly, what was the importance of literature as a means of cultural transmission. The facts that emerge show that religion was a controversial topic, so any cultural material relating to it was transmitted with difficulty; elements of material culture were more readily disseminated. Religious exclusiveness and polemical propaganda on both the Christian and the Muslim side prevented medieval scholars such as Alphonso X from forming a truly accurate picture of the Muslim culture. The. popular literature, as exemplified here by Don Juan Manuel, contributed much to culture transfer, by conveying to Western Europe a relatively favourable view of the Muslims, but literature which bore clerical influences projected a hostile attitude. Therefore, although thirteenth and fourteenth century Castile transmitted much information on the Muslim culture to Western Christendom, the view presented was partly truthful and partly erroneous, and attitudes alternated between' sympathetic and hostile, producing an uneven picture.
AuthorsWallhead, Celia Margaret
- Theses