A pioneering work of cultural anthropology, E.W. Lane's study of Egyptian society has not been out of print since it was first issued in 1836. Immersing himself in Egyptian culture, Lane learned the Arabic language and adopted the Arab way of life. Written before the forces of innovation transformed Egypt, Manners & Customs of the Modern Egyptians is recognized for its wide-ranging scope of detail on daily life topics such as the nature of Islamic laws and its relation to government, birth and marriage customs, death and funeral rites, music and dancing, and the world of magic and alchemy. This distinctive work retains its power to charm and fascinate contemporary readers. EDWARD WILLIAM LANE (1801-1876) was a British translator, lexicographer, and Orientalist. Instead of studying at college as a young man, Lane moved to London with his brother to study engraving, at which time he also began to study Arabic. When his health began failing, he moved to Egypt for a change of atmosphere and to continue his studies. While in Egypt, Lane began to study ancient Egypt, but soon became more entranced by modern customs and society. He relied on Egyptian men to help him gather information, especially on the topic of Egyptian women, on which he wrote many books. Lane also translated One Thousand and One Nights, though his greatest work remains The Arabic-English Lexicon.
University, Self, and Society in the Antebellum South
Author: Timothy J. Williams
Publisher: UNC Press Books
Category: Social Science
In this in-depth and detailed history, Timothy J. Williams reveals that antebellum southern higher education did more than train future secessionists and proslavery ideologues. It also fostered a growing world of intellectualism flexible enough to marry the era's middle-class value system to the honor-bound worldview of the southern gentry. By focusing on the students' perspective and drawing from a rich trove of their letters, diaries, essays, speeches, and memoirs, Williams narrates the under examined story of education and manhood at the University of North Carolina, the nation's first public university. Every aspect of student life is considered, from the formal classroom and the vibrant curriculum of private literary societies to students' personal relationships with each other, their families, young women, and college slaves. In each of these areas, Williams sheds new light on the cultural and intellectual history of young southern men, and in the process dispels commonly held misunderstandings of southern history. Williams's fresh perspective reveals that students of this era produced a distinctly southern form of intellectual masculinity and maturity that laid the foundation for the formulation of the post–Civil War South.
The Amazing Adventures of a Man Who Rescued a Million Yiddish Books
Author: Aaron Lansky
Publisher: Algonquin Books
This true story of a quest to save Jewish literature is “a detective story, a profound history lesson, and a poignant evocation of a bygone world” (The Boston Globe). In 1980 an entire body of Jewish literature—the physical remnant of Yiddish culture—was on the verge of extinction. Precious volumes that had survived Hitler and Stalin were being passed down from older generations of immigrants to their non-Yiddish-speaking children, only to be discarded or destroyed. So Aaron Lansky, a twenty-three-year-old graduate student, issued a worldwide appeal for unwanted Yiddish works. Lansky’s passion led him to travel from house to house collecting the books—and the stories of these Jewish refugees and the vibrant intellectual world they inhabited. He and a team of volunteers salvaged books from dusty attics, crumbling basements, demolition sites, and dumpsters. When they began, scholars thought that fewer than seventy thousand Yiddish books existed. In fact, Lansky’s project would go on to save over 1.5 million volumes, from famous writers like Sholem Aleichem and I. B. Singer to one-of-a-kind Soviet prints. This true account of his journey is both “extraordinary” (The Boston Globe) and “entertaining” (Los Angeles Times). “Lansky charmingly describes his adventures as president and founder of the National Yiddish Book Center, which now has new headquarters at Hampshire College in Amherst, Mass. To Lansky, Yiddish literature represented an important piece of Jewish cultural history, a link to the past and a memory of a generation lost to the Holocaust. Lansky’s account of salvaging books is both hilarious and moving, filled with Jewish humor, conversations with elderly Jewish immigrants for whom the books evoke memories of a faraway past, stories of desperate midnight rescues from rain-soaked dumpsters, and touching accounts of Lansky’s trips to what were once thriving Jewish communities in Europe. The book is a testimony to his love of Judaism and literature and his desire to make a difference in the world.” —Publishers Weekly