Islam and the West
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Shortly after the conquest of Granada in 1492 by the Catholic kings, Muslim subjects in Spain became known derogatorily as Moriscos, Moros, Muhammadans, Hagarans, and Saracens, despite the fact that they were forced to accept the sacrament of baptism. They were relegated to the margin of Christian society, considered aliens in their own land, and subjected to strictures and persecution. In turn, the Moriscos developed their own attitude, which they expressed in an extensive literature in Alijamiado, their Spanish dialect written in Arabic script. This literature was for the most part inspired by Arabic models reiterating Islamic values through the vehicles of history, legends, epic tales, stories, wisdom sayings, and sorcery. Written mostly during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, Aljamiado literature is significant for the study of cultural change.
Islam and the West: The Moriscos is the first comprehensive study of this long-neglected subject. Chejne surveys and analyzes the self-expression of the Moriscos and assesses their status as a minority struggling for survival, placing them in the social context of ideological conflict, the clash of religions and cultures, and differing perceptions. This book provides a more complete picture of the literatures and cultures of medieval Spain.
Anwar G. Chejne is Professor of Middle Eastern and Hispano-Arabic Studies at the University of Minnesota.