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However, literary production and creativity were inevitably marked by the ongoing series of Crusades, carried out by Christians from western Europe, the Mongol invasions and later those of the Turkic conqueror Timur (Tamerlane), the fall of Constantinople to the Ottomans in 1453, the fall of Granada in the Reconquista in 1492, and the fall of Cairo to the Ottomans in 1517.
However, it is important to observe that, as is the case with many literary traditions, the origins of this Arabic term in the premodern period lie in the realms of correct behaviour (“polite letters”).
The nature of “the modern” in the context of Arabic literary history involves twin processes: first, renewed contacts with the Western world, something that was considerably accelerated by European imperial incursions during the 19th century, and, second, a renewed interest in the classical heritage of the Arabic language and Islam.
Particularly in analyzing the earlier stages in the process known as (“renaissance”), Western historians have for a long time placed much more emphasis on the first of these factors.
Al-Andalus became to the rest of Europe a model of a society in which the religions and cultures of Islam, Christianity, and Judaism could work together and create a system of scholarship and teaching that could transmit the heritage of older civilizations and the rich cultural admixture of Andalusian society.
Western science, mathematics, philosophy, music, and literature were all beneficiaries of this fascinating era, of whose final stages the fabulous Alhambra palace complex in Granada, Spain, remains the most visible token.
It is certainly true that the 19th century witnessed a vigorous translation movement that introduced to the readership of Arabic literature examples of genres such as the novel, the short story, and the drama.