The Feeling of HistoryIslam, Romanticism, and Andalusia

The Feeling of HistoryIslam, Romanticism, and Andalusia

Charles Hirschkind

Print publication date: 2021

ISBN: 9780226746814

Publisher: University of Chicago Press


This book explores some of the different ways in which Europe's Islamic past inhabits its present, unsettling contemporary efforts to secure the continent’s Christian civilizational identity. Taking southern Spain as its primary focus, it examines forms of history and memory that mediate and sustain an active relation to the Islamic heritage of Andalusia, and the impact these forms have on the ethical and political possibilities of finding a place for Islam in Spain and Europe today. This effort at historical recuperation has been the central concern of a longstanding tradition (known as Andalucismo) among Spanish artists, writers, musicians, and political thinkers, a tradition based on the principle that contemporary Andalusia is linked in vitally important ways with al-Andalus (medieval Islamic Iberia) and that the challenges faced by Andalusians today—and by Europeans more broadly—require a recognition of that historical identity and continuity. The book gives particular attention to the role of musical and aesthetic sensibilities in shaping the way the past is encountered and given a place in the lives of contemporary Andalusians. Challenging conventional interpretations of Andalucismo as Romantic fictionalization or Orientalist fantasy, The Feeling of History highlights the multiple ways Spaniards have accommodated their lives to the demands of an inheritance only partially available to knowledge and thus more felt than known, and in doing so, have sought to unsettle the historical geography of what today is called fortress Europe.