Wednesday, October 6, 2010

AUC Biography of Edward Lane

A new biography of the famed 19th century Orientalist, Edward William Lane (1801-1876), who translated Arabian Nights in addition to Manners and Customes of the Moden Egyptians was just released by AUC press. I have so many books to read, but this by Jason Thompson indeed seems necessary. A thoughtful review in Al-Ahram, "Pioneering Egyptologist and Orientalist," puts Lane in context as one of the prime European Orientalists identified Edward Said. Lane's fascination with the "Orient" manifests as such: he dresses, marries, speaks, and studies the culture with inensity. Is that the quandry, the more we study and try to perfect our craft, the more "expert" we become, the more we realize it is a dream? Or, as the article suggests, do we become seduced by our own research?

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