Les Fixeurs au Moyen Âge [Fixers in the Middle Ages: History and Literature Connected] is published by Les Éditions du Seuil, France’s most prestigious publishing press in the humanities and social sciences. From the start of the Western wars in Afghanistan, then in Iraq and later Syria, the term of “fixer” became common to designate (mostly) men who serve as interpreters, guides, facilitators, mediators, in short intermediaries. Zrinka’s experience of a fixer – interpreter, guide, facilitator, mediator – on the war frontlines serves as the starting point to the historical study of medieval fixers who served as intermediaries between the Christians and Muslims, pilgrims, missionaries, merchants, soldiers. Fixers are the invisible men and women of history and of the present that this book brings to life. Conceptually, the central question is what ethics is possible in situations of life and death, when the “client” who pays his fixer is also indebted to him for his survival. The book’s publication date coincides with the disastrous withdrawal of the Western forces from Afghanistan in August 2021, when hundreds and thousands of Afghan fixers were left behind.
In Médiéval contemporain: Pour une littérature connectée [Medieval Contemporary: For a Connected Literature], Zrinka owns up to the task of a public intellectual to offer answers to what a medievalist can say about the contemporary world. How can we write the history and read the literature of the Middle Ages in the present moment? The book proposes a What comparison, then: asynchronous, asymmetrical, heterotopic? The renowned publishing house, Éditions Macula, was founded 40 years ago as an art review by well-known art critics Rosalind Krauss, Georges Didi-Huberman, and others. Its small publications catalogue displays works by philosopher Giorgio Agamben or medieval art historian Otto Pächt.