In an antique land The cover proclaims IAAL “History in the guise of a traveller’s tale,” and the multi-generic book moves back and forth between Ghosh’s. Once upon a time an Indian writer named Amitav Ghosh set out to find an Indian slave, name unknown, who some seven hundred years before had traveled to. Such is the underlying motif of IN AN ANTIQUE LAND, Amitav Ghosh’s fascinating study which blends a historical detective story with his own experiences as a.

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In an Antique Land: History in the Guise of a Traveler’s Tale

So what we see in the book is how he navigates these places, whom he meets, what sort of conversations he has and so forth. I stopped dead when I saw Jabir; I was not sure whether we were still on speaking terms. People had felt sorry for him to begin with, but later the injury had proved such an advantage that everyone had begun to wonder about its authenticity: That evening, towards sunset, I went for a walk in the fields.

But the people who used the Geniza would not have countenanced the modern distinction between the ‘secular’ and the ‘religious’: But it so happened that he was taken completely by surprise. The story is like nothing I’ve read before. Known to his subordinates as Over-Baring, he had served in various administrative posts in India and Egypt, and had found little reason to be enthusiastic about the abilites of their modern inhabitants. Other hoards of documents, very similar to the Geniza material, were discovered in the Jewish cemetery in Fustat at the turn of the century and then again a decade or so later.

By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. Eventually I went to visit the archive myself but a disappointment awaited lnd there: Shaikh Musa stood in the middle, holding his two grandsons by the hand, his eldest son, Ahmed, on his right and Hasan, the younger, on his left.


But since colloquial Arabic has always varied between regions, Judaeo-Arabic too tended to take on somewhat different colours in different parts of the Arab world. Sidi ‘Abbas had lived in Nakhlatain long, long ago, long before anyone could remember, and he had been famous throughout the region for his godliness and piety: We had gone directly to his bedroom, pushing past a nuzzling sheep tethered by the door.

Seen as parasites by the locals, they hide away at night, sharing crowded rooms to cut costs and working only to send money back home. In Lataifa and Nashawy, Ghosh describes the characters he meets and records their family connections and histories, social positions, hopes and aspirations. Further suggestions might be found on the article’s talk page.

Ghosh has a fantastically open and honest voice. In the meanwhile a shipment of cardamom sent by Ben Yiju has been received in Aden, and a cargo of silk dispatched in return.

In an Antique Land: History in the Guise of a Traveler’s Tale by Amitav Ghosh

Of course, you have no cause to be disappointed. It was that shared background perhaps that lent Shaikh Musa’s lane a special note of affection when he spoke of Hasan: He seemed somehow subdued, much quieter and less cocky than usual.

We were sitting in his bedroom that evening. Also by Amitav Ghosh. He filled about thirty sacks and boxes with the materials and with the help of lnad British Embassy in Cairo he shipped them off to Cambridge. And because he presses his healing fingers along the wounds that constitute the separation between first and thirds worlds.


In an Antique Land – Wikipedia

A seventeenth-century English law, for example, states: They looked at one another in puzzlement at first, and when I recounted the story that Jabir had told me they began to laugh.

Scanning through the relevant parts of Goitein’s oeuvre, I discovered that his interest lay, on the whole, in the broad sweep of history, so that the references to individuals, such as Ben Yiju, were scattered randomly through his writings like the windblown trail of a paperchase.

He is, after all, a,itav for a Western audience who presumably love the stories of quirky, simple village folk. Combining shrewd observations with painstaking historical research, Ghosh serves up skeptics and holy men, merchants and sorcerers.

In an Antique Land

Eight centuries later, those odd solecisms often have an awkward, endearingly human grace, where the correct form would seem merely formal or stilted. Judaeo-Arabic, determinedly contrary, was not like either form of Arabic: I soon realized that some of them were from Nashawy, and the moment there was a break in the conversation I asked if there was going to be a feud in their village.

Paperbackpages. What is so amazing about the book is that it gives interesting, almost unbelievable, glimpses into the deep past, and tells it in a way that history reads seems less dry and distant. Ghosh parallels his own sojourns in Egypt, the Malabar coast and return to Antiqke, with those of Ben Yiju, who spent some twenty years in Mangalore, marrying a freed Indian slave, before returning to North Africa.