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The Arcadian Library: Western Appreciation of Arab and Islamic Civilization (Studies in the Arcadian Library)
The Arcadian Library is unique in Europe. The 10,000 or so volumes which it owns provide a complete picture of the encounter between two cultures and show how the civilization of the Arab and Islamic worlds was appreciated in the Christian West from the earliest times to the present day. The purpose of this heavily-illustrated survey is to provide an idea...
The Arcadian Library is unique in Europe. The 10,000 or so volumes which it owns provide a complete picture of the encounter between two cultures and show how the civilization of the Arab and Islamic worlds was appreciated in the Christian West from the earliest times to the present day. The purpose of this heavily-illustrated survey is to provide an idea of the variety of works, documents, and images which the library holds in different domains. Travel writings prevail, a reflection of the impressions made on Europeans by the vast region centred on Arabia and the Levant and stretching from the Maghreb to South and Central Asia, and of the discoveries they made and the effect of their findings on Western knowledge and sensibility. The section on travellers also includes some of the rarer items in the library - unique manuscripts and maps, colour-plate books, and unpublished letters from figures such as Richard Burton, T.E. Lawrence, and Gertrude Bell. In addition to travel there is a large collection of Turcica, with its rare pamphlets and illustrations; a section on Arab science and medicine which contains priceless incunables of translations of Arabic texts; an important selection of Quran translations and material on Eastern Christianity; documents both published and unpublished on the Arabs in Spain and the influence of the tradition they established on early modern Spain and the rest of Europe; numerous products of oriental scholarship and, finally, works of oriental literature which include, besides translations from Turkish and Persian, unpublished manuscripts, and splendidly illustrated copies of The Arabian Nights.Over 200 illustrations of some of the finest items in the library, including four 8-page fold-outs, complement the text. The bibliography, running to almost 2000 entries, gives an overview of some of the most important items in the library.
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