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After Jews and Arabs

After Jews and Arabs: Remaking Levantine Culture

Ammiel Alcalay
Copyright Date: 1993
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 352
  • Book Info
    After Jews and Arabs
    Book Description:

    “Painstakingly, brick by brick, he has reconstructed a shared literary and historical tradition that has linked Arab and Oriental Jewish thought for the better part of a millennium.” --Victor Perera

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-8468-7
    Subjects: Anthropology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-xii)
  4. Introduction: Charting the Terrain
    (pp. 1-34)

    The modern myth of the Jew as pariah, outsider and wanderer has, ironically enough, been translated into the postmodern myth of the Jew as “other,” an other that collapses into the equation: writing = Jew = Book. By what sleight of hand? Metaphor? Metaphysics? Such an exclusive address (whether it is an open or a closed book) ultimately obscures the necessity of mapping out a space in which the Jewwasnative, not a stranger but an absolute inhabitant of time and place. The urgency of reiterating not only the memory but the possibility of such a world can be...

  5. Chapter 1 Discontinued Lines: Drafts for an Itinerary
    (pp. 35-118)

    The “old” Levantine world coincides with but is not exclusive to Islamic rule. Although its central source of nourishment remains the fertile symbiosis of Arabic, Jewish, and Romance culture created in the Western Caliphate of Spain from the tenth to the thirteenth centuries and known as the Golden Age, the culture formed there also refers back to Baghdad and the Eastern Caliphate. This culture, in turn, refers back to its roots, connections and conflicts with Persia, Byzantium, the remnants of the Hellenic world and the ancient Near East. Prospective as well, it survives the Inquisition to go forward and feed...

  6. Chapter 2 A Garden Enclosed: The Geography of Time
    (pp. 119-194)

    Sometime around 1160, Benjamin of Tudela set out from his native city on a journey that would take some thirteen years. His itinerary covered most of the known world and included stops in several hundred cities in Europe, Asia, and Africa. He described the Great Mosque of Damascus:

    Here is a wall of crystal glass of magic workmanship, with apertures according to the days of the year, and as the sun’s rays enter each of them in daily succession the hours of the day can be told by a graduated dial. In the palace are chambers built of gold and...

  7. Chapter 3 History’s Noise: The Beginning of the End
    (pp. 195-219)

    In 1856, after traversing the frontiers of the New World past the Atlantic to the Pacific, Herman Melville ventured back, into “the republic of cousins,” the Old World of the Mediterranean Levant. The trip to Cairo and then Constantinople managed to stir something in him, a certain “spontaneity”:¹

    To the Bazaar. A wilderness of traffic. Furniture, arms, silks, confectionary, shoes, sandals—everything. (Cairo). Crowded overhead with stone arches, with side openings.

    Immense crowds. Georgians, Armenians, Greeks, Jews, & Turks are the merchants. Magnificent embroidered silks & gilt sabres & caparisons for horses.

    You loose yourself & are bewildered & confounded with the labyrinth, the din,...

  8. Chapter 4 Postscript: “To end, to begin again”
    (pp. 220-284)

    The “miraculous cleansing of the land,” in the form of the forced expulsion and flight of the Palestinian Arabs in 1948, left empty houses, deserted shops, abandoned villages, and untended orchards, which, lest the refugees attempt to return, all needed “Jewish” bodies to fill them.¹ During and after the destruction of over 400 Palestinian villages, from 1949 to 1951, at a period when immigration was at its height, about 600,000 people, one way or another, came to the new state of Israel. Many were survivors of the death camps in Europe. The majority, however, drawn step by step into a...

  9. Notes
    (pp. 285-322)
  10. Index
    (pp. 323-334)
  11. Back Matter
    (pp. 335-337)