In his thrilling and sparkling new book, Medieval Empires and the Cultures of Competition: Literary Duels at Islamic and Christian Courts (Edinburgh University Press,...

In his thrilling and sparkling new book, Medieval Empires and the Cultures of Competition: Literary Duels at Islamic and Christian Courts (Edinburgh University Press, 2017), Samuel England, Assistant Professor of Arabic at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, analyzes with remarkable nimbleness the interaction of literature, politics, and power in medieval imperial settings. Effortlessly traversing from Buyid Baghdad to Spain and Italy, England shows ways in which literary competition, especially in poetry, pollinated imperial visions and fissures of political sovereignty. Literature and literary duels performed in the space of the imperial court, England convincingly argues, were critical to assemblage of medieval imperial sovereignty. This finely written book will interest and delight scholars of literature, religion, politics, and history-students of Arabic will especially appreciate the copious exhibition of wonderful Arabic poetry throughout the text.


SherAli Tareen is Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Franklin and Marshall College. His research focuses on Muslim intellectual traditions and debates in early modern and modern South Asia. His academic publications are available here. He can be reached at [email protected]. Listener feedback is most welcome.

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