A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Friday, September 16, 2011

It's Edward William Lane's Birthday Again: Happy 210th!

Edward William Lane
Tomorrow, September 17, marks Edward William Lane's birthday yet again. This time it will be his 210th. As I've noted each year, I'm lucky enough as a fan of Egypt and Cairo to share a birthday with the author of The Manners and Customs of the Modern Egyptians, Lane's Arabic-English Lexicon, a translation if the Arabian Nights, and more. (I am not, however, 210, though I will admit I'll be playing one particular track by Lennon and McCartney from the Sergeant Pepper album more than usual.)

For more on Lane, see the link above (noted again last year) and my comments on the Lane corpus (including his sister's and nephew's books) in my recent post on Cairo in the 19th century.

One of the more famous sections of Manners and Customs  is Lane's description of the ghawazi (he spells it Ghawazee) or class of dancing girls (seen by some as the ancestors of the belly dance) whose immoral (his characterization) performances he describes in sufficient detail to suggest that, despite his expressed distaste for their behavior, he studied them closely out of his devotion to anthropological knowledge, so I'll celebrate with his image of their dance. Happy 210th, Ed:

No comments: