Edward William Lane

Today is the first time I came across this name. I would never have thought that I would learn about the Arabic language from a British man by the name of Edward William Lane.

As I sit here thinking about my second post, I was entertaining the idea of listing the books I think I can begin translating for this website. And for the most part that list did not change, but what is interesting is the addition to that list. The Arabic-English Lexicon by Edward William Lane  (London: Willams & Norgate 1863).

I was searching the internet for a transliteration/romanization table to keep as a quick reference. I then came across Mr. Lane’s book of 8 volumes and began to read the Preface and the Memoirs. I am in utter awe of this man’s effort. This body of work is – from what I have read so far – an indispensable tool for any scholarly work in the Arabic language.

What is absolutely astonishing is the book’s story. It took E.W.L almost 30 years to finish this book. Reading the first few pages about the first letter of the Arabic alphabet is just mesmerising in its meticulous detail.

I must find out more about this author and his story.

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