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Medieval Literature and Postcolonial Studies

Lisa Lampert-Weissig

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This volume provides a comprehensive introduction to postcolonial medieval studies and examines the historical connections between postcolonial studies and medieval studies. Lisa Lampert-Weissig provides new readings of medieval texts including Wolfram von Eschenbach's Parzival, Mandeville's Travels and Guillaume de Palerne, a romance about werewolves set in Norman Sicily. In addition, she examines Walter Scott's Ivanhoe from the perspective of postcolonial medieval studies, as well contemporary novels by Salman Rushdie, Tariq Ali, Juan Goytisolo, and Amitav Ghosh.


Series Preface
I. The Future of the Past
II. Medieval Intersections: The Case of al-Andalus
Norman Frontiers and the Twelfth-Century Werewolf Renaissance
Race, Periodisation and Medieval Romance
A Global Vision: The Travels of Sir John Mandeville
III. The Dark Continent of Europe
Works Cited
Further Reading

About the Author

Lisa Lampert-Weissig teaches in the Literature Department at the University of California, San Diego, where she also directs the interdisciplinary German Studies program. Previously she was on the faculty of the English Department at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Her publications include Gender and Jewish Difference from Paul to Shakespeare (2004) and articles in The German Quarterly, Jewish History, Modern Language Quarterly and the Journal of Popular Culture.


Written for the prestigious series edited by David Johnson and Ania Loomba, this book will enable a wider audience to get a broad view of the extraordinarily fertile field of pre-modern literature and culture: it sets out clearly the ways in which the intersection of ethnic, racial, and religious difference in the pre-modern setting can provide valuable insights into modern postcolonial theory. Lisa Lampert-Weissig's book is sure to have a dramatic impact on medieval and early modern studies, and on the much broader fields of postcolonial theory and literary history.
- Professor Suzanne Conklin Akbari, Department of English and Medieval Studies, University of Toronto
Lisa Lampert-Weissig persuasively argues both that postcolonial studies can illuminate our understanding of medieval Europe's centuries of invasion and conquest, and that medieval literary sources can refine key concepts in postcolonial studies. In her lucid and challenging readings of medieval texts and contemporary postcolonial novels, Lampert shows that the ways in which the Middle Ages features in contemporary debates about postcolonial nations struggling out of their past or about 'Islam in Europe' are far from merely academic. We need books like this to remind us of the medieval roots of histories of modernity, 'race' and European identity.
- Professor Ruth Evans, Department of English, Saint Louis University
"Succeeds in pointing the reader to an impressive wealth of resources for exploring a growing, intellectually stimulating and, most importantly, politically indispensable field."
- Denis Ferhatović, Connecticut College, English Studies

Lisa Lampert-Weissig has produced a bold exposition of the reciprocal relevance of postcolonial and medieval studies, written in a clear style that should make this book very useful in the classroom for outlining the parameters of that relevance.

- Alistair FOX, Commonwealth Essays and Studies, Vol 34, Issue 1

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