By Daniel L. Newman
Within the 1820s, Rifa‘a Rafi‘ al-Tahtawi, a tender Muslim cleric, used to be a number one member of the 1st Egyptian academic undertaking to Paris, the place he remained for 5 years, documenting his observations of ecu tradition. His account, Takhlis al-Ibriz fi Talkhis Bariz, is without doubt one of the earliest and so much influential documents of the Muslim come across with Enlightenment-era ecu proposal, introducing principles of modernity to his homeland. as well as its historic and literary worth, al-Tahtawi’s paintings deals helpful perception into early conceptions of Europe and the ‘Other’. Its observations are as brilliant and palpable this day as they have been over one hundred fifty years in the past; informative and infrequently acute, to funny impact. An irrefutable vintage, this new version of the 1st English translation is of seminal price. it's brought and thoroughly annotated by means of a pupil fluent within the lifestyles, occasions and milieu of its narrator.
‘An Imam in Paris shall we us percentage the responses of a extremely smart student ... Daniel L. Newman is to be congratulated on making the 1st translation into English of this extraordinary publication, and on aiding the textual content with a firstclass advent and with footnotes which are as complete as possible wish.’ instances Literary Supplement ‘A touchstone for puzzling over the tangled kin among Islam and modernity’ Jewish Quarterly ‘[A] high-quality translation ... commonly and meticulously notated’ The overseas heritage Review
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Extra info for An Imam in Paris: Account of a Stay in France by an Egyptian Cleric (1826-1831)
She was also democratic. If she was capable of writing this of the Arabs: “an intermediate race, they appeared to me, between the monkey and the man, the ugliest, most slavish countenances,” or this of the Nubians in Aswan: “Troops of South Sea Savages received us . . not shiny as savages ought to be, but their black skins all dim and grimed with sand, like dusty tables, their dirty hair plaited in rats’ tails, close to their heads, naked, all but a head veil. I heard some stones fall into the river, and hoped it was they, and that that debased life had finished,” she was also capable of criticizing her own beloved Anglican Church, after having visited one in the Coptic quarter in Cairo: “One’s feelings towards the Anglican Church are very different when she is hiding in corners, struggling with the devil .
The pigeons had been stuffed, one hard upon the other, into bamboo cages. From time to time one of the women would take a swig of water from a red plastic gasoline jug, yank a pigeon from the cage with a roughness that seemed to spell immediate destruction, fit the pigeon’s beak between her own lips, transfer the water to the bird, then stuff him back in the cage, patting the others down to make room for him. They handled the birds like dirty washrags. When a potential customer came down the hot street, one of them would haul a dozen birds out of a cage, pinch their wings together, and display them six in each hand, like a fan of playing cards.
Confusion brewed behind his face. He seemed to be waiting for the voice of outrage to catch up with him. Presently it did. “But our way is the right way! ” And he began to speak at great length in a humorless, resentful, persecuted tone. He spoke of holiness, law, right actions, the Prophet, honor, and God. As he talked, I found myself tugging the sleeves of my blouse lower over my wrists. He told me 46 R O S E M A RY M A H O N E Y that there was prostitution in Egypt but that if you visited a prostitute you would gain a bad reputation.