GW Libraries: Exhibits


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Fire and Sword in the Sudan: A Personal Narrative of Fighting and Serving the Dervishes, 1879-1895

Rudolf Carl Slatin, 1896

Slatin wrote these chapters at the earnest entreaties of his friends and had little desire to record his experiences. He held high posts in the Sudan, traveled throughout the country and, as a perfect master of the language, enjoyed opportunities few others had.  Here he seeks to accurately describe the affairs during the last days of the Egyptian Administration. He spent 11 years in captivity, placing him in a unique position as the highest authority on the rise, progress, and wane of that great religious movement.

The Kashf al-Mahjub; The Oldest Persian Treatise on Sufiism

Ali ibn Usman, 1911

This substantial treatise aims to provide a complete system of Sufism. This is achieved by examining the acts and sayings of great figures of the past; through discussing features of doctrine and practice; and analyzing the views of various Sufi Schools. It is enlivened by episodes from the author's own life.

Remarkable Characters and Places of the Holy Land

Charles Wyllys Elliot, 1867

This book offers an account of the lives of patriarchs, judges, prophets, apostles, women, warriors, poets and kings, with a description of ancient cities and venerated shrines. This book approaches these Scriptures from their "human" side. Without assuming to treat high questions of theology or doctrine, it attempts to bring forward the human nature and the real life of the wonderful characters which lived in the Holy Land.

A comprehensive commentary on the Qurán; comprising Sale's translation and preliminary discourse, with additional notes and emendations; together with a complete index to the text, preliminary discourse, and notes 

E.M. Wherry, 1896

Wherry was a reverend and a missionary. He wrote his commentary for the express purpose of assisting Christian missionaries that were seeking to covert Muslims.  He conducted rather thorough research and attempted to gather previously existing elucidations of the Quran, adding them to his own study. He claims to be portraying the prophet Mohamed honestly, though he does so while simultaneously condemning his words, actions, and beliefs.

The Land and the Book : or, biblical illustrations drawn from the manners and customs, the scenes and scenery of the holy land 

William M. Thomson, 1860

Thomson was a missionary who lived in the Middle East for a period of 25 years. In his account, he does not attempt to comment on any particular book of the Bible, but rather selects indiscriminately from any and all passages that touch upon the themes he desires to elucidate.  This book is written in a casual tone and is not intended for the professional student, and he deliberately seeks to avoid dry, textual exposition. Instead, the book is filled with colorful stories and fantastic illustrations.

The Jew; The gypsy and El Islam

Sir Richard Francis Burton, Thomson, 1898

This book was published posthumously after Burton's death. The first part of this book has an odd history. Burton collected most of the materials for writing it from 1869 to 1871 when he was Consul at Damascus. Disguised as a native and unknown to any living soul except his wife, he mingled freely with the people of Damascus, inspecting every quarter of the city: Muslim, Christian, and Jewish. He had intended to publish the book in 1875 but a friend informed him that it was too anti-Semitic. The other parts of this book are also offensive in many ways, but they are written with Burton's characteristic zeal and offer much insight into the mind of the one of the world's most influential Orientalists.

Les religions et les philosophies dans l'Asie centrale

Joseph Arthur Comte de Gobineau, 1866

De Gobineau was a French artisocrat, novelist, and man of letters who became famous for developing the theory of the Aryan master race in his book An Essay on the Inequality of the Human Races. He is credited as being the father of modern racial demography. Hitler and Nazism borrowed much from his philosophy, though Gobineau himself was not anti-Semitic. He is also known to students of Babism for having written the first and most influential account of the movement, and he displayed a fairly accurate knowledge of its history in this book.