Like many first books, this one began as a doctoral dissertation, and as such owes much to the fine teachers I had while a graduate student at the Centre for Medieval Studies, University of Toronto. I had the good fortune of writing the dissertation under the supervision of Jocelyn Hillgarth of the Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies. His profound understanding of medieval Spain in all its diversity, his patience, and his sense of humor made the writing of this work a rich, rewarding, and largely pleasurable experience. The late Frank Talmage of the University of Toronto, with whom I had studied Sephardic history and who impressed me in so many ways with his love of learning, impeccable scholarship, and humanity, read the dissertation carefully and made many incisive comments. John Boswell of Yale University offered much advice and encouragement both before I departed for Spain to begin archival research and after the dissertation was completed. Robert Burns, S.J., of the University of California, Los Angeles, was kind enough to read the dissertation and to make a number of helpful suggestions, of a kind that only he, with his great knowledge of Valencian history, could make. My colleague at Notre Dame, Greg Dowd, a historian of American Indians with a particular sensitivity to cross-cultural questions, also read the manuscript and provided insightful comments.
The staffs of the Archivo de la Corona de Aragón and the Archivo del Reino de Valencia were always kind and helpful, making working conditions as pleasant as possible for a young historian. Sr. Rafael Conde, now director of the Archivo de la Corona de Aragón, did the
great service of pointing me toward the archival treasures of Valencia, although at the time I could not imagine ever leaving Barcelona. The Ontario government generously provided me with the funding necessary for sixteen months of research abroad, and The Lady Davis Fellowship Trust kindly granted me a postdoctoral fellowship at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Muna Salloum of the Centre for Religious Studies, University of Toronto, did a wonderful job of typing the final draft of the dissertation in the eleventh hour, and the staff of the Steno Pool of the University of Notre Dame kindly typed the revised manuscript.
On a more personal note, there are a number of people without whom this book would not have been possible. Friends in Barcelona and Valencia gave me a feeling and an appreciation for the Països Catalans and their peoples that could never have been gotten in the archives. Larry Simon, then, like myself, a graduate student researching in Barcelona, shared with me his enthusiasm and insights. I owe special thanks to my cousins, Karen and Dick Grimm, Doug, Eric, and Gia, and to my in-laws, Sid and Ruth Ross. The love and encouragement of my wife Jill were matched only by her patience as the Mudejars became part of both our lives.