representing others in medieval Iberian & modern academic literature

Hamilton representing others as scary clown

The conclusion to Michelle Hamilton’s Representing Others in Medieval Iberian Literature begins with an epigram from another scholar.  Read it with philosophical seriousness:

Three ingredients, then, are necessary to make Europe: Rome, Greece and Christianity.

— Rémi Brague, Eccentric Culture

Hamilton then begins in her own words:

Rémi Brague’s provocative assertion that the only traditions that contributed to the formation of contemporary Europe are Western ones reflects contemporary critical views of European identity and history. [1]

Hamilton thus rewrites “are necessary to make” into “the only traditions that contributed.”  That’s passive-aggressive symbolic violence to the other scholar.[2]  Such deliberative acts, not the totalizing view, sadly reflect contemporary critical practice in discussing European identity and history.

Welcome to the New Middle Ages.  It’s producing cartoon literature that outdoes this-for-that didactic allegory.  It’s re-chanting academic ideology.  The whole enterprise is less humorous than medieval theology or modern medicine.

Where is now Jaume Roig?  What happened to the French Revolution?  Why has intellectual life sunk into a sea of lies?

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Read more:


[1] Hamilton (2007) p. 147.  Id. contrasts the “Roman/Greek/Christian construction of identity” with the “Arab/Andalusi/Jewish” identity.  The construction of these constructions of identity depends heavily on the constructions of contemporary academic medieval Iberian studies.  Juan Ruiz’s Libro de buen amor shows them about as much respect as it does for Aristotle.  Hamilton’s book has received laudatory reviews from her fellow scholars of medieval Iberian history and culture.

[2] Rémi Brague himself seems to be exceptionally precise in his use of words.  That’s not the only way to participate fruitfully in intellectual life.  But that way deserves at least a minimal level of intellectual respect.

[image] Scary clown thanks to Graeme Maclean and Wikipedia.


Hamilton, Michelle. 2007. Representing others in Medieval Iberian literature. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

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