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The Arts of Intimacy: Christians, Jews, and Muslims in the Making of Castilian Culture

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Named a Book of the Year by the Times Literary Supplement, this lavishly illustrated work explores the vibrant interaction among different and sometimes opposing cultures, and how their contacts with one another transformed them all. It chronicles the tumultuous history of Castile in the wake of the Christian capture of the Islamic city of Tulaytula, now Toledo, in the ele Named a Book of the Year by the Times Literary Supplement, this lavishly illustrated work explores the vibrant interaction among different and sometimes opposing cultures, and how their contacts with one another transformed them all. It chronicles the tumultuous history of Castile in the wake of the Christian capture of the Islamic city of Tulaytula, now Toledo, in the eleventh century and traces the development of Castilian culture as it was forged in the new intimacy of Christians with the Muslims and Jews they had overcome.  The authors paint a portrait of the culture through its arts, architecture, poetry and prose, uniquely combining literary and visual arts. Concentrating on the eleventh and twelfth centuries, the book reveals the extent to which Castilian identity is deeply rooted in the experience of confrontation, interaction, and at times union with Hebrew and Arabic cultures during the first centuries of its creation. Abundantly illustrated, the volume serves as a splendid souvenir of southern Spain; beautifully written, it illuminates a culture deeply enriched by others.


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Named a Book of the Year by the Times Literary Supplement, this lavishly illustrated work explores the vibrant interaction among different and sometimes opposing cultures, and how their contacts with one another transformed them all. It chronicles the tumultuous history of Castile in the wake of the Christian capture of the Islamic city of Tulaytula, now Toledo, in the ele Named a Book of the Year by the Times Literary Supplement, this lavishly illustrated work explores the vibrant interaction among different and sometimes opposing cultures, and how their contacts with one another transformed them all. It chronicles the tumultuous history of Castile in the wake of the Christian capture of the Islamic city of Tulaytula, now Toledo, in the eleventh century and traces the development of Castilian culture as it was forged in the new intimacy of Christians with the Muslims and Jews they had overcome.  The authors paint a portrait of the culture through its arts, architecture, poetry and prose, uniquely combining literary and visual arts. Concentrating on the eleventh and twelfth centuries, the book reveals the extent to which Castilian identity is deeply rooted in the experience of confrontation, interaction, and at times union with Hebrew and Arabic cultures during the first centuries of its creation. Abundantly illustrated, the volume serves as a splendid souvenir of southern Spain; beautifully written, it illuminates a culture deeply enriched by others.

30 review for The Arts of Intimacy: Christians, Jews, and Muslims in the Making of Castilian Culture

  1. 4 out of 5

    Izzie_422

    I am currently undergoing research for my Fine Art dissertation which is about the definition of architectural style in Medieval Iberia. I have read near 30 books and articles on the subject and I have to say, this is perhaps the best I have found. It is rare for such a diverse topic to be written so well - most books tend to fall into the category of coffee-table book meets guidebook, but this is insightful and genuinely interesting. I have to admit to skim-reading it as it is largely a history I am currently undergoing research for my Fine Art dissertation which is about the definition of architectural style in Medieval Iberia. I have read near 30 books and articles on the subject and I have to say, this is perhaps the best I have found. It is rare for such a diverse topic to be written so well - most books tend to fall into the category of coffee-table book meets guidebook, but this is insightful and genuinely interesting. I have to admit to skim-reading it as it is largely a history book rather than an art-history book, but it has provided me with a fantastic understanding of the time period, as well as conveying a better grasp of what the social relationships of the time were actually like. So often art historians assume Muslim and Christian rulers were constantly at war, but in actual fact, they often formed strong alliances in order to vanquish a shared enemy. A very insightful book, I strongly recommend it to anyone else studying this time period.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Mills College Library

    946.302 D642 2008

  3. 4 out of 5

    Isidro Rivera

    Specialist. Lavishly illustrated. Crucial orientation to multi-cultural Iberia.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Alex

  5. 4 out of 5

    Chris

  6. 5 out of 5

    Sonja

  7. 4 out of 5

    April

  8. 5 out of 5

    Abdallah

  9. 5 out of 5

    Caitlin

  10. 4 out of 5

    Mary Lawlor

  11. 4 out of 5

    Naila

  12. 5 out of 5

    Cat

  13. 5 out of 5

    Nightocelot

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

  15. 4 out of 5

    Mechteld

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

  17. 5 out of 5

    Christina

  18. 5 out of 5

    Mia

  19. 4 out of 5

    Stuart

  20. 4 out of 5

    Muhammad A

  21. 5 out of 5

    Erin

  22. 4 out of 5

    Madeline Morales

  23. 4 out of 5

    Ximenka

  24. 4 out of 5

    Scoutaccount

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jeff

  26. 5 out of 5

    Amelia Hyde

  27. 4 out of 5

    Michelle Araj

  28. 4 out of 5

    Leanne Wiggins

  29. 5 out of 5

    Aspasia

  30. 4 out of 5

    Mohamad Ballan

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