"A work of surprising complexity. The detailed notes, the appendices, the multilingual and multinational research that the translator has done. . . . The results have made the translation far more usefully accessible than the plain text could ever have been, as a primary source for scholars of Middle Eastern intellectual and cultural history of the period."—Frances Pritchett, Professor Emerita, Columbia University
"Nu‘mani was one of India’s most creative and enterprising intellectuals at the turn of the 20th century. His travelogue to the Ottoman lands, a classic of Urdu literature, is a riveting account of his experiences as he met a wide range of individuals, visited schools and libraries, and collected scholarly materials with enthusiasm. Bruce’s lucid translation, supported by excellent notes and appendices, is without question a work that will at once inform and entertain."—Barbara D. Metcalf, Professor Emerita, University of California, Davis
"Bruce achieved a masterful translation of an influential late 19th century Urdu text of Shibli Numani, his travel account of Turkey, Egypt and Syria in 1892. Readings an Indian Muslims proud observations of progress and reform in the ethnically mixed cities ruled by Ottoman Caliph Abdulhamid II will be essential to understand the late 19th century Pan-Islamism during an era of empire, race and geopolitics."—Cemil Aydin, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Turkey, Egypt, and Syria: A Travelogue vividly captures the experiences of prominent Indian intellectual and scholar Shibli Nu‘mani (1857–1914) as he journeyed across the Ottoman Empire and Egypt in 1892. A professor of Arabic and Persian at the Mohammedan Anglo-Oriental (MAO) College at Aligarh, Nu‘mani took a six-month leave from teaching to travel to the Ottoman Empire in search of rare printed works and manuscripts to use as sources for a series of biographies on major figures in Islamic history. Along the way, he collected information on schools, curricula, publishers, and newspapers, presenting a unique portrait of imperial culture at a transformative moment in the history of the Middle East. Nu‘mani records sketches and anecdotes that offer rare glimpses of intellectual networks, religious festivals, visual and literary culture, and everyday life in the Ottoman Empire and Egypt. First published in 1894, the travelogue has since become a classic of Urdu travel writing and has been immensely influential in the intellectual and political history of South Asia. This translation, the first into English, includes contemporary reviews of the travelogue, letters written by the author during his travels, and serialized newspaper reports about the journey, and is deeply enriched for readers and students by the translator’s copious multilingual glosses and annotations. Nu‘mani’s chronicle offers unique insight into broader processes of historical change in this part of the world while also providing a rare glimpse of intellectual engagement and exchange across the porous borders of empire.
Shibli Nu‘mani (1857–1914) was an Indian educator, historian, and writer. His travelogue of the Ottoman Empire and Egypt, his critical studies of Urdu marsiyah poetry and Persian poetry, and his biographies of the Abbasid caliph al-Mamun, Nu‘mani bin Sabit (Abu Hanifah), 'Umar ibn al-Khattab, Abu Hamid al-Ghazali, Jalal al-Din Rumi, and the Prophet Muhammad are considered classics in Urdu.
Gregory Maxwell Bruce was educated at the Unviersity of California, Santa Cruz and the University of Texas at Austin. He is currently a lecturer at the University of California, Berkeley.
6 x 9, 376 pages, 1 black and white illustrations