978-0-85692-010-3 / 9780856920103

Account of the Manners and Customs of the Modern Egyptians


Publisher:East-West Publications (U.K.) Ltd



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About the book:

Edward William Lane was born in Hereford on September 17th, 1801. He was the 3rd son of the Reverend Theophilus Lane, LL.D., a prebendary of Hereford Cathedral and was educated privately, mostly by his parents. Despite early success in Mathematics and Classics and hopes for a career in the Church, Lane abandoned the idea and headed for London where he helped an elder brother with his work in lithography and engraving. He also devoted much time to learning Arabic in which he acquired a great proficiency. Work and study undermined his health to such an extent that he nearly died of fever and this prompted him to head for the East and Egypt in particular where he could recover and take up his favourite studies; and so he went to live there at the tender age of twenty-four. He decided to not just study the language, but the people as well. As such he adopted their costume and carried the effect off so well that people assumed he was a Turk. He hired professors to instruct him in Arabic and to teach him Moslem religion and law and lived among the people taking on an Arabic name and adopting their manners, customs and their opinions too. He abstained from eating food forbidden by their religion and from drinking wine; and also from habits thought to be disagreeable such as using knives and forks at meals. The result of the efforts he went to was that he gained the entire confidence of the Arabs, who forgot he was not one of them. He was thus, even as an Englishman, able to penetrate into their thoughts, into their inner life and to think their thoughts in their language. This integration resulted in this comprehensive work

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