This book is dedicated to those without whom it would never have been possible, but countless others also contributed, almost in more ways than I can remember.
Kemal Beydilli. In the Istanbul archives, as often happens in archival research, searching for documents on d’Ohsson or other individuals can prove nearly impossible. Often, it takes someone engaged in wide-ranging researches on the period to find such documents. Kemal Beydilli’s research on the period enabled him to find important documents on d’Ohsson and publish a pioneering study of them in the mid-1980s. Much has changed in research on d’Ohsson since the 1980s. Still, the record for launching archival research on d’Ohsson in the Istanbul archives belongs everlastingly to Kemal.
Folke Ludwigs. In Sweden, there was no professional historian working on this subject, but archivist Folke Ludwigs’ unexcelled knowledge of the Riksarkivet’s holdings and his local knowledge of Sweden formed the basis for an enduring collaboration. Vast amounts of documentation on d’Ohsson are in the Riksarkivet. Mouradgea d’Ohsson knew no Swedish, and by far most of the Swedish documents pertinent to this study are in French. I collected those documents during research trips to Sweden and analyzed them myself. I studied Swedish on my own, acquiring a reading knowledge sufficient for printed sources. When archival documents in Swedish turned up, the stylistic and paleographical challenges of eighteenth-century court Swedish, as well as archaic points of grammar, required recourse to Folke’s expertise. Folke also accompanied me on my trip to Eskilstuna and shared in my research on the Celsing Family Archives. The research in the holdings of the Royal Library (Stockholm) and the Lund and Uppsala University Libraries is my own.
Gunsel Renda. Given that I was trained as a historian but not an art historian, I would also have been helpless had not Günsel Renda responded to my plea to take an interest in d’Ohsson’s illustrations. She could tell at a glance which version of which Ottoman illustrated manuscript had provided the source for some of the engravings, and she readily identified the Istanbul artist whose workshop contributed the most to d’Ohsson’s project. Much more research was still needed to explain the production in Paris of a huge work lavishly illustrated with engravings. However, I could not have gotten this part of my research off the ground without the impetus given by Günsel.
Sture Theolin. Ten years into my research on d’Ohsson, I met Ambassador Theolin, then Sweden’s Consul General in Istanbul. He combines diplomatic, intellectual, and entrepreneurial acumen in the way exemplified centuries earlier by d’Ohsson and his Swedish diplomatic patrons. Sture’s interest and enthusiasm flowered into the symposium on d’Ohsson held at the Swedish Research Institute in Istanbul in 2001. My research had revealed to me what a profusion of topics were pertinent to the study—from Swedish diplomatic and military history and French court politics, to history of the book, graphic arts, Ottoman painting, Islamic jurisprudence, and d’Ohsson’s precision in presenting Arabic legal texts. Sture brought together experts who could examine d’Ohsson’s work from many of these angles, and I was honored to be the keynote speaker. The conference resulted in a spectacular collective volume, the Torch of the Empire (2002), referenced frequently below. Since then, other new avenues of research have opened up. Having to pursue those alone heightens my appreciation of my fruitful collaboration with Sture Theolin.
This is the first work I have ever published in which I actually am helpless to thank everyone who has aided me along the way. Decades have passed since I first became curious about d’Ohsson and his work. My active research on Mouradgea began in the early 1990s but was interrupted by other projects. The best I can do now is to try to remember those to whom I am most indebted. In the notes, I will do a better job of thanking those who helped me on specific points. The John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation provided fellowship support to launch the writing of this book, and Ohio State University provided research support over a number of years. At Brill, I am indebted to Maurits van den Boogert, Franca de Kort, and Gera van Bedaf, whom I cannot thank sufficiently for her editorial vigilance and attention to detail.
Among individual scholars in Ottoman studies, Kemal Karpat has set an unexcelled example of lifelong scholarly productivity and has been unfailingly generous with counsel and professional support for many years. In Turkey, in addition to Kemal Beydilli and Günsel Renda, I wish to thank Edhem Eldem and Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu. Among the many in Sweden, I thank Folke Ludwigs, Carol Adamson, Fredrik von Celsing, Anna-Sophia von Celsing, Henric Falkenberg, Marianne and Ulla Reuterskiöld, Stig Ramel, Karin Ådahl, Göran Bäärnhielm, and Ambassadors Erik Cornell, Gunnar Jarring, and Sture Theolin. Among scholars writing in French, I am indebted to Christian Michel, Nicolas Vatin, Gilles Veinstein, Daniel Panzac, Frédéric Hitzel, and Faruk Bilici. In England, I wish to thank Michael Rogers and Antony Griffiths. In the United States, I owe thanks to Robert Darnton, Amalia Kessler, Thomas Goodrich, Walter Andrews, Dona Straley, Kevin Fitzsimons, Patrick Visel, Ben Trotter, Elizabeth Bond, and Johanna Sellman. Steven Siebert of Nota Bene, the word-processor program used in all my work, has offered unstinting advice and assistance. Yaromir Steiner has proved himself a modern Mouradgea in all the best senses of the word. Finally, I owe unique debts to my family.
The research required for this study crosses the boundaries of many different fields and disciplines. In presenting d’Ohsson’s own views, especially in passages that are headed with the legend “Mouradgea Speaks” to signify that they are translations from the Tableau, the views are Mouradgea’s. In cases where I or others have found errors in his text, I so indicate. However for the most part, his views are presented as his own, original sources for the scholarly world to evaluate. Otherwise throughout the work, despite years of effort, errors surely remain. The fact that so few scholars have devoted original research to d’Ohsson and his work magnifies the danger of error and omission on my part. The responsibility for those shortcoming is mine alone.
Authors always discover new sources after it is too late to integrate them properly into a work that is already in press. Here please allow me to pay tribute to only two such works. The first is Antony Griffiths, The Print Before Photography: An Introduction to European Printmaking, 1550–1820 (British Museum, 2016). The second is Jürgen Osterhammel, Unfabling the East: The Enlightenment’s Encounter with Asia, translated by Robert Savage (Princeton University Press, 2018). D’Ohsson’s masterpiece is a prodigious example of illustrated book production under the circumstances studied by Griffiths, and Osterhammel’s “unfabling the East” defines precisely the cause that d’Ohsson served.