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Distributed for Museum Tusculanum Press

Dolce far niente in Arabia

Georg August Wallin and His Travels in the 1840s

In the 1840s the Finnish orientalist Georg August Wallin traveled in the Middle East, where he collected material on Arabic dialects. Considered an eminent scholar by his contemporaries, he died an untimely death shortly after his seven-year journey and was therefore able to publish only a fraction of his material. Gathering together what we know of Wallin’s work, the scholars in this book tell the fascinating story of his life and travels in Egypt, the Arabian Peninsula, and Persia.
In order to make contact with local inhabitants, Wallin assumed a Muslim identity and disguised himself as the physician ‘Abd al-Wali from Central Asia. Inquisitive and sharp-eyed, he was able to document daily life among the urban dwellers of Cairo and the Bedouin of the northern Arabian Peninsula, preserving his unique material in letters and diaries written in his native language—Swedish—but, interestingly, sometimes rendered in the Arabic alphabet. Recounting his adventures through the ancient and holy lands of the Middle East, the authors here also highlight Wallin’s importance as a pathbreaking ethnographer and linguistic researcher. 

144 pages | 14 color plates, 1 halftone, 7 maps | 5 x 8 1/4 | © 2015

Travel and Tourism: Tourism and History

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Table of Contents

Heikki Palva
Patricia Berg
Georg August Wallin – A Finnish sailor stranded on the Arabian Peninsula
Finland and Helsinki during the early decades of the nineteenth century
Family and youth
Student years in Helsinki in the 1830s
Further study of Oriental languages and dissertation for the docentship
The travel scholarship application and the research journey
After the research journey
G.A. Wallin, Letter
Sofia Häggman
Wallin’s Egypt - Quite like home
Alexandria – the encounter with the Orient
Cairo – an oriental home
To Barraniya and Tanta – a summer in the country
The Nile journey – the encounter with the Pharaonic
The last winter in Cairo
G.A. Wallin, Diary
Kaj Öhrenberg
The terra incognita of Arabia
Philology – the Queen of the nineteenth century sciences
The Romantic traveler
The first journey into the desert
The second journey into the desert
The third journey into the desert
Back to Europe and plans for a new journey to Arabia
Epilogue: Empire and geography intertwined
G.A. Wallin, Letter
Jaakko Hämeen-Anttila
Georg August Wallin and Persia
A country in turmoil
Wallin and the Persian language
Constantly comparing Persians with Arabs
Wallin and Persian literature
Results from the visit to Persia
G.A. Wallin, Letter
Picture Sources

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