This talk studies the cosmopolitan language: the language of literary life in the era before the rise of the European national languages, when men (and the occasional woman) of letters must learn a new linguistic instrument in order to become literate. By comparing the two most important cosmopolitan languages of the medieval Mediterranean world, Arabic and Latin, Mallette describes some of the strategies that language uses to transcend the boundaries that language creates.
Karla Mallette is a scholar of medieval Mediterranean literature in Italian, Latin and Arabic. She is currently Professor of Italian and Near Eastern Studies and Director of the Islamic Studies Program and the Center for European Studies at the University of Michigan.
Reception to follow