Monday, April 23, 2012

Unos libros interesantes

The Ornament of the World: How Muslims, Jews and Christians created a culture of tolerance in medieval Spain.  By María Rosa Menocal.
(Available at Jackson County Library system)

   I mentioned this book in class recently when we were discussing the role of the Arabs (often referred to as los moros) in Spain.  I found this book fascinating.  Here's a review by a reader, Carolyn Crocker, on Goodreads that I agree with, followed by a scholarly review:

    "A work of history that's work to read, this depiction of eras of religious tolerance, devotion to learning, and the excitement of mingled cultures can give us hope for our pluralistic and riven world. The seeds of our literature, science, philosophy are held in this fascinating time. Work, but worthwhile work."

Editorial Review - Cahners Business Information (c) 2002
     Menocal (R. Selden Rose Professor of Spanish and Portuguese and director of Special Programs in the Humanities, Yale Univ.) has previously published The Arabic Role in Medieval Literary History: A Forgotten Heritage, as well as other books on the role of the vernacular in medieval cultures.
     This book certainly reflects her deep scholarship. Menocal offers persuasive evidence that the Renaissance was strongly foreshadowed by the intellectual climate of Spain in the preceding centuries, starting in 783 with the founding of Andalusia by Abd al-Rahman, an Umayyad from Syria. The culture created was receptive to intellectual pursuits not allowed in the rest of Europe for several centuries, including the creation of impressive libraries and the study and translation of Classical authors. Menocal claims that this environment was largely a result of the tolerance shown by this ruler and his successors toward Christians and Jews and their cultures. Menocal has not given us a history book so much as a demonstration that puritanical cultures of any ilk are detrimental to the development of science, art, and literature. Her arguments are convincing even without the dark background of September 11. Recommended for all libraries.  -Clay Williams, Hunter Coll. Lib., New York

And then, you might enjoy People of the Book, a historical novel by Geraldine Brooks, that traces an important book from the Andalusian cultures across the world and the ages.  Also available at the library.

No comments:

Post a Comment