Tag Archives: book culture

A book list from Damascus

After its main text, Princeton MS Garrett 784Y contains also a book list written by the same scribe who copied the entire manuscript. It contains 114 entries, referring to a rather large private library by the standards of the time. In this post, we will look at it more closely.

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Into Ibn Tulun’s library

My project is mostly concerned with Ibn Tulun’s own body of work, his own corpus. This focus has partially emerged due to my fascination with his organization of knowledge and partly due to constraints exerted by the current state of cataloguing. It is rather easy to find the author of any given manuscript but much more time-consuming to identify former owners of a manuscript. Today, however, let us take a look at which other books Ibn Tulun called his own.

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A note on Nelly Hanna’s “In Praise of Books”

Only recently, I finished reading Nelly Hanna’s 2004 monograph “In Praise of Books”. Honestly, while the book raises some interesting questions, it has not aged all that well.

But first, what is it about? It is less about the books mentioned in the title and more about “A cultural History of Cairo’s Middle Class, Sixteenth to Eighteenth Century” as the subtitle clarifies. In this context, Hanna argues that the written word became more important than it was before, and that it now began to reach well beyond the academe of the time, namely the ʿulamāʾ circles. Continue reading