Captured by Christian pirates in the Mediterranean and imprisoned by the pope, then released, baptised, and allowed a European life of scholarship as the Christian writer Giovanni Leone, Al-Hasan al-Wazzan - or Leo Africanus - is a celebrated but hitherto elusive figure. Here, in "Trickster Travels", distinguished historian Natalie Zemon Davis ...
Captured by Christian pirates in the Mediterranean and imprisoned by the pope, then released, baptised, and allowed a European life of scholarship as the Christian writer Giovanni Leone, Al-Hasan al-Wazzan - or Leo Africanus - is a celebrated but hitherto elusive figure. Here, in "Trickster Travels", distinguished historian Natalie Zemon Davis offers a virtuoso study of the fragmentary, partial and often contradictory traces that Al-Hasan al-Wazzan left behind him, and a superb interpretation of his extraordinary life and work.
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New. 5 x 8. New with minimal shelfwear. A biography of al Hasan al-Wazzan, the man who would become known as Leo Africanus, and his influence during the Renaissance between Europeans and Africans, Christians and Muslems.
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Publishers Weekly, 2006-01-30 Davis (The Return of Martin Guerre) performs a sterling service in disentangling the twisted threads of al-Hasan ibn Muhammad ibn Ahmad al-Wazzan's fascinating life. Better known in the West as Leo Africanus, he was one of the Renaissance's greatest geographers and the author of a Europe-wide bestseller, The Description of Africa (1550). Born a Muslim in Granada in 1492, al-Hasan al-Wazzan traveled widely as an ambassador and merchant throughout Africa, a continent then a mystery to Europeans, but was captured by Spanish pirates in 1518, presented to Pope Leo X and ostensibly converted to Christianity while explaining Islam to his bewildered audience. Al-Hasan al-Wazzan had the (mis)fortune to live in "interesting times": the Ottomans were on the march, the Habsburgs were on the rise and the Protestants were alarming the pope, yet al-Hasan al-Wazzan managed to flit among a myriad of worlds (including, Davis speculates, taking a formerly Jewish wife). Eventually, he returned to a North Africa riven by turmoil and slaughter, and disappeared from our view. He rose above hard-drawn lines and presented "himself simply as an independent polymath," says Davis, and his life provides a lesson in the "possibility of communication and curiosity in a world divided by violence." 16 pages of b&w illus., 2 maps. (Mar.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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