Faculty Spotlight: Dwight Reynolds (Religious Studies)

Dwight Reynolds (Religious Studies) has a book in press with Routledge/Taylor & Francis titled The Musical Heritage of al-Andalus that deals with music in medieval Iberia from the Muslim conquest in 711 CE to the final expulsion of the Moriscos (Muslims converted voluntarily or involuntarily to Christianity) in 1609-14. This volume documents the various cultural exchanges around the medieval Mediterranean that eventually led to a new musical tradition that has been performed for over a thousand years among Muslim, Sephardic Jewish, and Christian communities of the Middle East.

A second book is nearing completion titled Medieval Arab Music and Musicians (Brill Publishers). This volume consists of annotated translations of three of the most important medieval texts on music. Two of the texts are lengthy biographies of musicians, including the biography of Ziryāb, the most famous musician of al-Andalus, and the third text is a treatise on music theory.

He is also working on a co-edited volume with Heather Blurton (English, UCSB) titled Reading the Middle Ages: The Changing Medieval Canon (Manchester University Press) that examines the odd disparity between the modern popularity of works that have survived in only one manuscript copy (Beowulf, El Cid, the Oxford Roland, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Ibn Hazm’s Neck-ring of the Dove, etc.) and the corpus of texts that were wildly popular in the Middle Age, extant in dozens of manuscript copies, but are rarely taught or studied in the modern academe. The volume as a whole poses the question: Why do we teach and study medieval texts that were not widely read and ignore those texts that were?

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