Monographs & Edited Collections

Research monographs and edited collections that dive deep into the literature and history of the Middle Ages.


IDOLS IN THE EAST: EUROPEAN REPRESENTATIONS OF ISLAM AND THE ORIENT, 1100-1450


Building on Orientalist stereotypes constructed over the centuries, the figure of the wily Arab has given rise, at the dawn of the twenty-first century, to the “Islamic” terrorist. This book explores the pre-modern background of some of the stereotypes still pervasive in present-day depictions of Muslims—the irascible and irrational Arab, the religiously deviant Islamist—and shows how these stereotypes developed over time.

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Seeing through the veil: Optical Theory and Medieval Allegory


This book examines several late medieval allegories in the context of shifting scientific and philosophical theories of vision. New optical theories were introduced that located the power of sight not in the seeing subject, but in the passive object of vision. This shift had a powerful impact on late medieval religious devotion, as well as on the writings of influential authors such as Chaucer and Dante.

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A SEA OF LANGUAGES: RETHINKING THE ARABIC ROLE IN MEDIEVAL LITERARY HISTORY


Medieval European literature was once thought to have been isolationist in its nature, but recent scholarship has revealed the ways in which Spanish and Italian authors—including Cervantes and Marco Polo—were influenced by Arabic poetry, music, and philosophy.  A Sea of Languages brings together some of the most influential scholars working in Muslim-Christian-Jewish cultural communications today to discuss the convergence of the literary, social, and economic histories of the medieval Mediterranean.

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THE ENDS OF THE BODY: IDENTITY AND COMMUNITY IN MEDIEVAL CULTURE

Drawing on Arabic, English, French, Irish, Latin and Spanish sources, the essays share a focus on the body’s productive capacity – whether expressed through the flesh’s materiality, or through its role in performing meaning. The collection traces the use of relics oand memorial monuments; the ways in which the individual body functions as the medium through which the social body is maintained; the poetic linkage of body and meaning; and the processes of corporeal being, from humoural liquids to the decay of the flesh.

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MARCO POLO AND THE ENCOUNTER OF EAST AND WEST


Few figures from history evoke such vivid Orientalist associations as Marco Polo, the Venetian merchant, explorer, and writer whose accounts of the “Far East” sparked literary and cultural imaginations. The essays in this collection challenge what many scholars perceived to be an opposition of “"East” and “West” in Polo's writings. These writers argue that Marco Polo's experiences along the Silk Road should instead be considered a fertile interaction of cultural exchange.

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