Manuscripts, Politics and Oriental Studies

Life and Collections of Johann Gottfried Wetzstein (1815-1905) in Context


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Manuscripts, Politics and Oriental Studies commemorates the life and works of Johann Gottfried Wetzstein (1815-1905) as a scholar, manuscript collector, and consul in Berlin and Damascus. Beyond research into Wetzstein's own time, special attention is given to the impact his efforts to acquire manuscripts have had until this day. Several contributions also illustrate contemporary developments that give context to his own career as a scholar and diplomat. The particular focus of this volume allows to explore the history of Oriental scholarship not purely through the lens of academic posts and publications but encourages us to discover lifes such as Wetzstein's, without academic stardom yet laying the material foundations of textual work for generations.

Contributors are Kaoukab Chebaro; François Déroche; Faustina Doufikar-Aerts; Alba Fedeli; Ludmila Hanisch †; Michaela Hoffmann-Ruf; Ingeborg Huhn; Robert Irwin; Boris Liebrenz; Astrid Meier; Samar El Mikati El Kaissi; Claudia Ott; Holger Preißler †; Christoph Rauch; Helga Rebhan; Anke Scharrahs; Jan Just Witkam.

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Boris Liebrenz is a researcher at the Saxon Academy of Science and member of the editorial board of the Journal of Islamic Manuscripts. His main interest is the history of manuscripts, libraries, and readers, also the topic of his Die Rifāʽiya aus Damaskus (Brill 2016; awarded the Annemarie-Schimmel- Forschungspreis 2017).

Christoph Rauch is head of the Oriental Department at the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin. He co-organized several conferences and exhibitions on manuscript collections and the history of Oriental studies. He is co-editor of The Yemeni Manuscript Tradition (Brill 2015) and The Diez Albums: Contexts and Contents (Brill 2016).
Acknowledgements List of Figures Notes on Contributors Note on Transliteration and Dates
1 IntroductionBoris Liebrenz and Christoph Rauch

Part 1 Berlin

2 Johann Gottfried Wetzstein als ForscherHolger Preißler †
3 Semitic Studies at the University of Berlin during Wetzstein’s LifetimeLudmila Hanisch †
4 Growing Collections and Rising Expectations The Endeavour to Catalogue Manuscripts in Arabic Script at the Royal Library in BerlinChristoph Rauch

Part 2 The Wetzstein Collections

5 The Wetzstein Collection at Tübingen University Library Its History, Content, and Reception in Oriental StudiesMichaela Hoffmann-Ruf
6 The Quranic Collections Acquired by WetzsteinFrançois Déroche
7 Johann Gottfried Wetzstein’s Manuscripts Containing Arabic Popular StoriesJan Just Witkam
8 The Consul and the King Wetzstein and AlexanderFaustina Doufikar-Aerts
9 Wetzstein in Wonderland Arabian Epic Manuscripts in the Wetzstein CollectionsClaudia Ott
10 Arabic Manuscripts and Books from the Bequest of WetzsteinBoris Liebrenz and Christoph Rauch

Part 3 Collecting Oriental Manuscripts

11 Collecting Islamic Manuscripts at the Munich Court Library in the Nineteenth Century An Acquisition HistoryHelga Rebhan
12 Manuscript Acquisitions and their Later Movements A Further Note about the Case of the Lewis Quranic ManuscriptAlba Fedeli
13 Manuscript Ownership and Readership at the American University of Beirut at the Turn of the Twentieth CenturyKaoukab Chebaro and Samar El Mikati El Kaissi

Part 4 Damascus

14 Looking at Man in the State of Nature Johann Gottfried Wetzstein on the Bedouin of the Syrian SteppeAstrid Meier
15 From Leipzig to Damascus Wetzstein as a Broker of Arabic Prints in SyriaBoris Liebrenz
16 Ergänzungen zu den hinterlassenen Papieren Johann Gottfried WetzsteinsIngeborg Huhn
17 Living in Mid-Nineteenth-Century Damascus Insights into the Urban Residences of Foreigners and LocalsAnke Scharrahs
18 Arabist and Consul in Damascus Sir Richard Burton and the Problematic Nature of His Translation of The Thousand and One NightsRobert Irwin
All interested in the history of Oriental scholarship in the 19th century, Syria in the late Ottoman period, as well as Oriental manuscripts and their collecting.
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