Histoire des Wahabis, depuis leur Origine Jusqu'a la fin de 1809.

CORANCEZ Louis Alexandre. (1810.)

£3750.00  [First Edition]

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First edition. 8vo. Contemporary quarter calf over marbled boards, with morocco label, gilt, slightly rubbed. Minor spotting to first two leaves and m.s. addition of 'Corancez' to title-page. Overall, a lovely copy. viii, 222; [2]pp. Paris, Crapelet,

The anonymous author, Corancez, first wrote about the Wahhabis in 1804 (published in the Paris Moniteur of October 31st) while he was French consul in Aleppo. This was the first European study of the origins and history of Wahhabism. It was plagiarised by Jean Baptiste Rousseau in his Description du Pachalik... of 1809. In the preface of this expanded version of his original article Corancez puts the record straight.

In the preface to the recent translation of the work, the late Professor R.M. Burrell comments that "Corancez was a man with considerable powers of observation and reflection. He was prepared to ask profound and difficult questions about the Middle Eastern society in which he lived."

The author notes with prescience "Ces Arabes paroissent destinés à jouer un grand rôle dans l'histoire." The first two chapters give details of the conversion of Muhammad ibn Saud, but most of the work is taken up with material concerning the years 1798 to 1809, beginning with the first Ottoman campaign against the stronghold of Dereyah and ending with their operations against Muscat and Ras al-Kaima. The author adds a further two chapters firstly his reflections on the emergence of an "idée du caractère national" and secondly notes on Wahhabi customs.

As Burrell comments "the final merits - and challenges - of this book are... [that] Conancez was prepared to reflect upon a range of issues which remain relevant and controversial, for many people in the Middle East today. These include the nature of Islam and its apparent resistance to self-doubt and the challenge of change, the complex attitude adopted by Muslims to Christians and Jews, the status of the Prophet Mohammed within Islam, the reasons for the enduring nature of despotic rule in the Middle East, the significance of the different status afforded to men and women..."

COPAC locates 4 holdings in the UK, at the British Library (2 copies), SOAS, Manchester and Oxford.

Atabey, 282; Macro, 750.

Stock Code: 198475

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