“Corners Conceal Treasures”: Arabic Manuscripts’ Marginalia in Fuuta Jaloo and Fuuta Toro in the Nineteenth Century

In: Islamic Africa

So far, studies of West African Arabic manuscripts have paid limited attention to scribes and their social environment. Fuuta Jaloo’s Islamic confederation emerged in the early 1700s as the brainchild of a group of scholars. Thanks to public policies and cultural innovations, its intellectual output and regional diffusion left indelible marks on manuscripts. The article illustrates how much information can be obtained from colophons, marginal notes, and other material elements. Analyzing several versions of a nineteenth-century treatise on astronomy, comments will be made on the diffusion and rendition of manuscripts in Fuuta Jaloo, Fuuta Toro and Maasina. 1