Unlike many narratives about the Czech lands, which place them on the periphery of their own history, this study considers Czechs as central characters, looking both east and west to find their place in the early modern world. Islam, Christianity and the Making of Czech Identity, 1453-1683 works through the descriptive and ethnographic texts produced by Czech speakers about Islam and the Ottoman Empire to show how they used this discourse to create Czech identities. Rather than simply constructing identity in opposition to the Islamic Other, Laura Lisy-Wagner shows how these authors played the Holy Roman and Ottoman Empires off each other, creating an autonomous space for themselves in between. Lisy-Wagner introduces sources that are new to English-language historiography and uses them in a way that is new to Czech historiography as well. The chapters are organized based on different categories of agents-travelers, ethnographers, religious leaders, artists, and political revolutionaries-whose voices cast ideas of Europe and Czech identity in the early modern period in a new and different light.
Table of Contents
Contents: Introduction; the deserts of Bohemia; From Bohemia to the end of the world; Turning Turk; You who are God’s warriors; That incomparable Moravian; Four flowers and two-tailed lions; Between the eagle and the crescent; Conclusion: exit pursued by a bear; Bibliography; Index.
'Dr Lisy-Wagner draws on an array of Czech texts by significant cultural, diplomatic and intellectual figures of the early modern Bohemian Kingdom to explore fascinating themes of cultural contact and conflict, image shaping and re-shaping, border defining and erasing. Challenging, engaging, and accessible ... makes a significant contribution to the study of early modern Bohemia, and Europe’s interactions with the Ottoman world next door.' Hugh Agnew, George Washington University '... [A] stimulating and innovative study ...' Renaissance Quarterly 'Lisa Lisy-Wagner should be congratulated for bringing to a wider audience a set of sources that have been generally neglected not only in English-language scholarship, but also in Czech historiography. This monograph provides readers with new perspectives ... Scholars working on Islamic history, Czech history, Habsburg history, the history of Christian-Muslim relations, and no doubt a wide variety of other topics, should find much of interest here.' Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations 'This book contains thoughtful accounts of some understudied texts and themes ... readers interested in early modern Czech history, and/or the story of East-West relations during this period, will find their interests quickened by it ...' Austrian History Yearbook 'Lisy-Wagner’s book ... does [a] good service in introducing a number of turcica-texts unknown to a wider international audience and drawing attention upon Central European "images of the Turk" as an unexplored field that has a lot to offer.' Journal of Modern History