We are happy to announce that Transcript volume 26 will be Doriane Zerka's monograph Imagining Iberia in Medieval German Literature. This is one of five new titles being announced today in what has become a very dynamic series: the others are here, here, here, and here.
Doriane's book is the first in Transcript to have a medieval focus, and it looks at how Germany — then a rich centre of cultural production — saw Iberia. We do not think of modern-day Spain as being all that far from Germany, but they are not of course neighbours. A walk from (say) Nuremberg to Madrid would take at least two months and involve some heavy terrain. And when you got there, everything could be different, from the weather to the alphabet. So Iberia was not a place which most German readers could ever hope to see for themselves: it was a little bit fabulous, in that it was the stuff of fables.
Above all, it was a religious and cultural crossroads, where Moorish culture and Islam met Christianity. Did that make it essentially a part of greater Europe, which German people could think of as the same world they belonged to? Or was it stubbornly the Other? Did it remain, as Auden put it, a fragment nipped off from hot Africa / soldered so crudely to inventive Europe? This is the question taken up by Doriane's book.
Imagining Iberia in Medieval German Literature is due out in our Transcript series in 2022.