The History of the Book in the Middle East  book cover
1st Edition

The History of the Book in the Middle East

Edited By

Geoffrey Roper

ISBN 9781409433101
Published August 21, 2013 by Routledge
608 Pages

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Book Description

This selection of papers by scholarly specialists offers an introduction to the history of the book and book culture in West Asia and North Africa from antiquity to the 20th century. The flourishing and long-lived manuscript tradition is discussed in its various aspects - social and economic as well as technical and aesthetic. The very early but abortive introduction of printing - long before Gutenberg - and the eventual, belated acceptance of the printed book and the development of print culture are explored in further groups of papers. Cultural, aesthetic, technological, religious, social, political and economic factors are all considered throughout the volume. Although the articles reflect the predominance in the area of Muslim books - Arabic, Persian and Turkish - the Hebrew, Syriac and Armenian contributions are also discussed. The editor’s introduction provides a survey of the field from the origins of writing to the modern literary and intellectual revivals.

Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction; Part I General and Introductory: Islamic book history: parameters of a discipline, Michael W. Albin; ’Of making many books there is no end’: the classical Muslim view, Franz Rosenthal. Part II Manuscripts: The script and book craft in the Hebrew medieval codex, Malachai Beit-Arié; Between the lines: realities of scribal life in the 16th century, Cornell H. Fleischer; Early Islamic bookbindings and their Coptic relations, Theodore C. Petersen; The human element between text and reader: the ijaza in Arabic manuscripts, Jan Just Witkam; Technical practices and recommendations recorded by classical and post-classical Arabic scholars concerning the copying and correction of manuscripts, Adam Gacek; The copyists’ working pace: some remarks towards a reflexion on the economy of the book in the Islamic world, François Déroche. Part III Introduction of Printing: From the manuscript age to the age of printed books, Muhsin Mahdi; A virgin deserving Paradise or a whore deserving poison: manuscript tradition and printed books in Ottoman Turkish society, Orlin Sabev (Orhan Salih); Mass producing houri’s moles: or aesthetics and choice of technology in early Muslim book printing, Ian Proudfoot; Medieval Arabic tarsh: a forgotten chapter in the history of printing, Richard W. Bulliet; Islamic reformist discourse in the Tulip period (1718-30): Ibrahim Müteferriqa and his arguments for printing, Stefan Reichmuth; The beginnings of Hebrew printing in Egypt, Diana Rowland-Smith. Part IV Printing Development and Print Culture: Hebrew printing houses in the Ottoman empire, Yaron Ben Na’eh; Arab booksellers and bookshops in the age of printing, 1850-1914, Ami Ayalon; On the question of lithography, Brinkley Messick; Rich men, poor men: Ottoman printers and booksellers making fortune or seeking survival (18th-19th centuries), Orlin Sabev (Orhan Salih); Functional perspectives on technology: the case of the printing press in the Ottoman empire, J.S. Szy

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Dr Geoffrey Roper is an editorial and bibliographical consultant. He was formerly head of the Islamic Bibliography Unit at Cambridge University Library, Editor of Index Islamicus and the World Survey of Islamic Manuscripts, and Associate Editor of the Oxford Companion to the Book.


’Il volume di cui parliamo e sicuramente uno dei piu utili prodotti su tale argomento. Geoffrey Roper ha infatti curato, dopo la sua introduzione, una raccolta di 27 articoli sul tema, arricchito di un indice dei nomi finale. Un indice che giunge a soccorso per la ricerca di riferimenti, storia etc. sparsi in studi gia editi, anche se spesso in sedi disparate e non di immediato accesso, che quanto mai utilmente sono qui raccolti in un’unica sede ... Si tratta quindi di una preziosa antologia, ma allo stesso tempo di una precisa affermazione dell’importanza di questo settore di studi, accanto allo studio della correlate tradizione manoscritta, e della necessita di proseguire in queste direzioni.’ Oriente Moderno ['The volume under review is certainly one of the most useful ever published on this subject. In fact, after his introduction, Geoffrey Roper has edited a collection of 27 articles on the topic, enriched with a final index of names. An index which comes to the rescue of any scholar searching for references, history etc. which are all scattered in previously published studies but often in disparate locations and not immediately accessible, but are here very usefully all gathered in one place ... It is therefore a very valuable anthology, but at the same time a precise statement of the importance of this field of study, in addition to the study of the correlated tradition of manuscripts, and the need to continue in this direction.’] Oriente Moderno