A landmark work on the vital importance of Levantine culture throughout the ages, not only on the development of Judaism but on all of Europe, Africa and Asia, and thus the entire course of modern history. -JB
From the U. of Minnesota Press website: By exposing the rich and diverse textual and cultural legacy of this time and space, Alcalay reassesses the exclusion of Semitic culture in Europe from the perspective of contemporary Arabic culture and opposing images of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This book will compel a revision of Jewish studies by placing contemporary Israeli culture within its Middle Eastern context and the terms of colonial, postcolonial, and multicultural discourse.
“In discussing Juan Goytisolo, Ammiel Alcalay writes of ‘the kind of internal and external attack on received ideas that can radically realign the past, snap it back into an entirely different focus.’ This is precisely his own accomplishment in After Jews and Arabs, a passionate and fervently erudite revision of Levantine culture. Alcalay’s Levant is a roomy mansion of letters, an exemplification of Adonis’s line ‘Only poetry knows how to marry this space.’ Armed with his faith in art, Alcalay ranges from the Inquisition to Franco, from Damascus to Andalusia to today’s Jerusalem, redefining the study of Mediterranean culture. Like a scholarly Edmond Jabes, he uses his imagination to leap borders. By the end of this book, his first, he succeeds in dismantling ‘those bloated signifiers “Arab” and “Jew”’ and returning to all of us what we can now in all frankness and without shame be called Levantine writing and Levantine art.” —Voice Literary Supplement