Heine and convivencia: coexistence in Muslim Spain

Schonfield, E. (2018) Heine and convivencia: coexistence in Muslim Spain. Oxford German Studies, 47(1), pp. 35-50. (doi: 10.1080/00787191.2018.1409508)

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Convivencia’ refers to the coexistence of Muslims, Christians and Jews during the period of Muslim rule in Spain (711–1492). Like the historian Isaak Markus Jost (1793–1860), Heine formed an idealized image of Muslim Spain in support of his own cultural ambitions. Heine’s identification with Marranos is well documented (Veit). This article considers the depiction of ‘convivencia’ in two texts by Heine, the drama Almansor and the poem ‘Jehuda ben Halevy’. In accordance with Heine’s sources, the chorus of Almansor presents Muslim Spain as a centre of cultural and religious tolerance for modern Europeans to emulate. Three decades later, Heine’s poem ‘Jehuda ben Halevy’ presents a more troubled picture, as two of the three Sephardi poets are murdered. Crucially, though, in Cordoba the murderer is punished. In this way, the poem asserts that the rule of law prevailed in Muslim Spain.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Schonfield, Dr Ernest
Authors: Schonfield, E.
College/School:College of Arts > School of Modern Languages and Cultures > German
Journal Name:Oxford German Studies
Publisher:Taylor & Francis
ISSN (Online):1745-9214

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