Modeling Medieval World Literature
Akbari, Suzanne Conklin
This article describes three models for integrating the study of medieval texts within world literature. First, “Mediterraneans” point to sites where diverse cosmopolitan regional centers are connected by a sea. Second, “distant reading” is deployed in tracing literary forms and themes over long periods of time and across cultures within medieval literature. Third, and most extensively, a model based on “moving things” is developed to track the ways in which objects and persons are used in medieval texts to precipitate cultural and social change on a large scale. Following the traveling objects in The Canterbury Tales, The Book of John Mandeville, the Kebra Nagast, and the Travels of Ibn Battuta, the article presents new patterns of conceptualizing literary history.