Medieval Marvels and Fictions in the Latin West and Islamic World


Product Details

University of Chicago Press
Publish Date
6.0 X 9.0 X 0.75 inches | 1.22 pounds

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About the Author

Michelle Karnes is professor of English and the history of philosophy and science at the University of Notre Dame. She is the author of Imagination, Meditation, and Cognition in the Middle Ages and is editor of Studies in the Age of Chaucer.


"Few scholars of medieval Europe have sought to put the body of writings on marvels produced in the Latin West in dialogue with currents in Arabic letters. Karnes navigates this terrain with sophistication and erudition. The breadth is stunning, and the comfort and ease that Karnes exhibits throughout a broad swath of intellectual endeavors are truly remarkable. This will be a vital work for students and scholars of intellectual history for years to come. We need more scholarship just like this: willing to take risks, to explore distant terrain, and to open new conversations."--Travis Zadeh, Yale University
"This is an excellent and refreshingly new account of the marvelous in medieval cultures. Karnes approaches marvels as a philosophical problem. Whether natural or invented, a marvel arouses wonder because of its liminal status as a rare, implausible, yet not impossible event or object. A particular strength is that Karnes goes beyond treating Arabic philosophy and literature as 'influences' on the West and works directly with the Arabic sources."--Barbara Newman, Northwestern University
"An adventurous comparative study of Christian and Islamic culture from the seventh to the fourteenth centuries, with forays into later works such as Don Quixote. [Karnes] looks at natural philosophy and optics, cognitive theories, travel literature and wonder tales, seeing in these varied disciplines a common thread of intellectual curiosity."-- "New York Review of Books"