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Islamic Middle Ages, Islamic history, Islamic literature


In his introduction to The Arabs and Medieval Europe Norman Daniel, after rejecting the "traditional" Gibbonian definition of the Middle Ages as "the age between a fixed classical civilization and the modern world which inherits it" in favor of a view which affirms the unbroken continuity of European history, concludes that "for all non-European peoples ... the concept of a Middle Age has no relevance, at least for their internal history. Any relevance it has must be in relation to Europe" (3). Similarly, in the area oof literature, Robert Rehder in a review article states categorically that "Medieval is an European term that has no meaning when used with reference to Islamic or Persian culture," and goes on to observe that "The notions of the Dark Ages and the Middle Ages derive" from Petrarch's conception of a "middle period" in European history between the time of the adoption of Christianity and his own age, and that "There is no corresponding similarities in Islamic history." The concept of "medieval man," he concludes, "is a fiction," and cannot be invoked in discussions of Islamic culture or literature (111-12).