Jeremiah Romano Mercurio and Daniel Gabelman

Abstract

Although scholars have paid increasing attention to textual marginalia and their role in the consumption and production of texts, they have largely overlooked the phenomenon of doodling and its parallel role in reading and writing. Doodles trouble their accompanying texts; they record inattention, whimsical digression, critique, and sometimes outright hostility toward those texts, revealing the complexity of readerly response and exposing authors’ visions as less unified than they seem. By attending to doodles in manuscripts, notebooks, and published literature, scholars can gain insight into the subconscious and occasionally contradictory forces at play in textual genesis and reception. This article examines doodles and closely related drawings by three author-artists from the long nineteenth century: Max Beerbohm, G. K. Chesterton, and an amateur illustrator named E. Cotton. Their work demonstrates the importance of doodling to their respective authorial enterprises and reveals the (sometimes ambiguous) generic boundaries between doodles and related graphic forms.

Adri K. Offenberg and David Kromhout

Manuscripts, Politics and Oriental Studies

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

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Edited by Boris Liebrenz and Christoph Rauch

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 and Christoph Rauch

Abstract

This article provides a small catalogue of 14 manuscripts and 7 Oriental printings from Wetzstein’s personal library that were acquired by the Prussian State Library together with his bequest in the early years of the 20th century. Outstanding among those objects is a small Quranic study collection of Wetzstein, comprising early Quranic fragments from the 2nd and 3rd Islamic centuries.

Arabist and Consul in Damascus

Sir Richard Burton and the Problematic Nature of His Translation of The Thousand and One Nights

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Robert Irwin

Abstract

Sir Richard Burton is famous for his feats of exploration and his translation of the Arabian Nights. He was British consul in Damascus from 1868 to 1871 and during his brief tenure of that post he attracted much criticism from the Ottoman authorities, the Jews of Damascus, other British diplomats and the Foreign Office in London. Though he had interested himself in the topography and antiquities of Syria during his consulship, he had shown no interest at all in Arabic literature or manuscripts. It is clear that when he arrived in Damascus his Arabic was still poor. It is also clear that when he began to translate the Arabian Nights in 1884 his knowledge of that language was remained poor and the translation he produced was heavily dependent on the earlier one by John Payne.

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Edited : Boris Liebrenz and Christoph Rauch

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Helga Rebhan

Abstract

The nineteenth century saw notable accessions to the collection of Islamic manuscripts in the Munich Court Library (Münchener Hofbibliothek). This article describes the acquisition history, starting with the secularisation in 1803, the transfer of the Mannheim Court Library in 1803/04, the French book theft and the restitution of these books in 1815. The single most important (though not undisputed) acquisition was the purchase of the voluminous library of the French Orientalist Étienne-Marc Quatremère (1782–1857) in 1858. At the very beginning of the twentieth century, in 1902, Eduard Glaser (1855–1908) mediated the sale of 157 Yemeni manuscripts collected by the Italian merchant Giuseppe Caprotti (1869–1919) to the Munich Court Library.

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Edited : Boris Liebrenz and Christoph Rauch

The Consul and the King

Wetzstein and Alexander

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Faustina Doufikar-Aerts

Abstract

The Wetzstein collection of Arabic manuscripts, brought to Berlin in the nineteenth century, contains a series of popular epics, categorized as “Grosse Romane”. They formed an important corpus of texts, and the initial reference for my research into the oriental Alexander tradition, in particular the popular romance Sīrat al-Iskandar. This survey provides an overview of my personal experience: the weal and woe of some twenty-five years of manuscript research. It reviews historical ways of cataloguing, classifying and handling manuscripts, microfilms and printing devices. It also demonstrates how the Wetzstein manuscripts formed the basis for my investigations into text transmission and my long lasting involvement in manuscript collation, editing, translating and not least: Alexander.