Program in Comparative Literature

Mosquitoes, Feasts, and Tombs: An Andalusian Gentleman’s Travels in the Fourteenth Century Muslim West

Thu, March 29, 2012 | SAC 1.118

1:30 PM

Alexander Elinson, Hunter College, CUNY
Thursday, March 29, 2012
1:30 PM
SAC 1.118

This presentation will focus on the fourteenth century polymath and government official from Granada, Spain, Lisan al-Din ibn al-Khatib (d. 1374), his travels in Morocco, and his role as a mediator between “European” and “North African” cultures. Ibn al-Khatib spent three years in Morocco, traveling and writing about where he stayed, whom he met, and what he saw. His writings, comprised of a number of literary genres, allow us a view of fourteenth century North Africa, from the perspective of a highly urbane Arab gentleman from Spain. The presentation will also consider the contemporary relevance of this period in terms of the Arab character of Morocco, and the shared cultures of Spain and Morocco today, as personified by Lisan al-Din ibn al-Khatib.

Alexander Elinson is an Assistant Professor of Arabic Language and Literature at Hunter College of the City University of New York. His book entitled Looking Back at al-Andalus: the poetics of loss and nostalgia in medieval Arabic and Hebrew Literature is published by Brill. Professor Elinson has published articles, reviews and translations on the Arabic and Hebrew strophic poem (zajal and muwashshah), rhymed prose narrative (maqama), and modern Arabic poetry and narrative in numerous peer-reviewed journals. His current research examines political, social, and literary debates surrounding writing in Moroccan colloquial Arabic.

Sponsored by:

Center for Middle Eastern Studies
Department of Religious Studies
Center for European Studies
Chair in Ethnic and Third World Literatures
Program in Comparative Literature
Department of English


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