Mikel de Epalza and María Jesús Rubiera University Library

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Mikel de Epalza and María Jesús Rubiera


The collection donated by Mikel of Epalza and M ª Jesús Rubiera, doctors in Semitic Studies, brings together a valuable set of books, magazines and reprints of singular use to enrich the Arabic and Islamic studies at the University of Alicante.




The location of the collection is split between the Researchers’ Room, the second floor of the Library of Arts and the University Library Deposit .



Mikel de Epalza (1938-2008)

Mikel Epalza Ferrer, is considered one of the greatest twentieth century Arabists in Spain, a leading figure in Islamic studies, a specialist in Mudejars and Moors who contributed to establishing academic and research ties between the Arab world and Spain.

Doctor in Semitic Studies from the University of Barcelona and Bachelor in Philosophy, Ecclesiastical Philosophy and Theology, he taught at universities in Oran, Algeria and Tunisia, as well as at several Spanish universities. However, it was at the University of Alicante where his academic activity was practiced longer as a lecturer since 1979, where he became Chair in Arab and Islamic Studies of Alicante, until his retirement in 2008. It is noteworthy, the organization, under his leadership, of the Master’s Programme in Euro-Arab Studies, which allowed the opening of new lines of research at the University of Alicante, focused on the economy, social issues and the study of Islamic law.

The main research, teaching and disseminating lines of his academic career are:

The first one, the study of the Tuhfa by Anselm Turmeda, to which he devoted his doctoral thesis and part of his work as a researcher. The work of this curious personality who was the Majorcan Franciscan Turmeda Ansem, converted to the Islam in Tunisia in the last quarter of the 14th C, was one of the greatest passions of Epalza.  Tuhfa is a controversial anti-Christian work written for Muslims, where the Majorcan Franciscan provides arguments to refute the Christian faith, besides narrating his religious conversion and his integration into the Tunisian administration. His thesis was awarded the Prize “Ciutat de Barcelona” and published is Spanish by the prestigious Academia Nazionale dei Licei   in 1971 with the title La Tuhfa, autobiografía y polémica islámica Contra el Cristianismo de ‘Abdallah al-Taryuman (Brother Anselmo Turmeda).

 The second, the translation of the Koran into Catalan (L’Alcorà. Traducció de l’arab al català. Introducció a la lectura i cinc estudis alcorànics, Barcelona, Proa, 2002), performed with the collaboration of Josep V. Forcadell and Joan M. Perujo, was awarded the National Translation Award 2002. This work brought him international and academic recognition.

 The interest in this work is - beyond being respectful with the content of the original text and trying to preserve a beautiful appearance in the literary reading- the effort of making it a universal, attractive and enjoyable work, as it is in Arabic, trying to reproduce the musicality of the language, as well as the exposure of the translation criteria used.

Source :

BERNABÉ PONS, Luis, Luis. Department of Modern Languages, University of Alicante ;

FORCADELL, Josep, PERUJO, Joan M. “Míkel de Epalza Ferrer, un llegat generós a la cultura en llengua catalana” . Llengua i Literatura, nº 20 (2009), pgs. 415-424;

BERMEJO, Fernando, Míkel de Epalza, arabista e islamólogo .

 María Jesús Rubiera (1943-2010)

World expert in al-Andalus literature and Arabic aesthetics, she was awarded a doctoral degree in Semitic Studies from the Complutense University of Madrid, where she was a lecturer, and since 1981, she has been teaching at the University of Alicante, in which she gained the Chair in Arabic and Islamic Studies. When she started at the University of Alicante, she was the Director of the Department of Catalan Studies, Arab and Islamic Studies and French Studies, which has currently become the Department of Modern Languages%u200B%u200B, where she was noted for her managerial skills. Along with her husband, Míkel of Epalza, she promoted Arab and Islamic studies at the University of Alicante and in the province at large, with several study works and lectures relating to the Sharq al-Andalus Islamic past.

 Founder and director of the journal Sharq Al-Andalus. Estudios Árabes , she saw in its pages a tribute to herself (no. 10-11, 1993-1994). She was also a member of the advisory board of the journal Al-Andalus-Magreb , from the University of Cádiz.

Her research lines dealt with the medieval Arabic literature, the epigraphic inscriptions of the Alhambra and the Generalife, study works on the Thousand and One Nights, and and its relations between the medieval Arabic literature and European literatures. Also worth mentioning is the great contribution of her doctoral thesis on the existence of a second poet verses on the walls of the Alhambra, Ibn al-Yayyab, from whom she edited and translated his dîwân .

From the Andalusian literature, her interests were expanding towards other subjects: Nazari Granada, the Moors and the Spanish-Arabic toponymy, especially in places like Villena, Aspe, Xativa or Denia, Arabic aesthetics, the Arabic garden, literature written by women, the Arab history of Sharq Al-Andalus , the strophic poetry, the possible Arabic influence and relationship in the kharjas and Catalan literature, the Moors, etc.

As a master translator, she put into Spanish several Andalusian poets and countless texts belonging to the peninsular Arab past.

Source :

BERNABÉ PONS, Luis. Department of Modern Languages, University of Alicante.

María Jesús Rubiera, "La arabista del “otro” poeta de la Alhambra"