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MALTA IMPRINT: شرح طبايع الحيوان الجرً الاول فى ذوات الاربع والطير [Sharh tabayi al-hayawan aljran al'awal fa dhuwwat al'arbae waltayr]. Zoom

MALTA IMPRINT: شرح طبايع الحيوان الجرً الاول فى ذوات الاربع والطير [Sharh tabayi al-hayawan aljran al'awal fa dhuwwat al'arbae waltayr].


A scarce book for children and youth, printed in Malta, is an Arabic translation of the Elements of natural history in the animal kingdom William Fordyce Mavor. The text was translated by a Lebanese author and international scolar Ahmad Faris Shidyaq.

With additions from Ḥayāt al-ḥayawān al-kubrā by Al-Damiri. 


Author: William Fordyce MAVOR (1758-1837), author; Al-Damiri (Kamal al-Din Muhammad ibn Musa al-Damiri, 1344-كمال الدين محمد بن موسى الدميري – 1405), author; Ahmad Faris SHIDYAQ (أحمد فارس الشدياق, 1805-1887), translator.
Place and Year: Malta 1841.
Technique: 8°: 349 pp. in Arabic script, contemporary half linen binding with marbled boards (Very Good, small scratch marks with a tiny hole in white margins of the title page, binding slightly loose, linen on the spine repaired with new linen).
Code: 65956

An uncommon book in Arabic language was printed as educational book for children and youth in Malta, and it describes animal species.

The work s a translation of a natural history book on animals by a Scottish author or educational texts William Fordyce Mavor (1758 – 1837).

The book includes parts of Ḥayāt al-ḥayawān al-kubrā (Life of Animals), by an Egyptian author Al-Damiri (1344–1405), written around 1371. The author describes animal species known to him with references of the mentioning of this species in the Koran, Arabic literature, folk tales and myths. Although the latter work had very limited scientific value, it is a unique contribution is to culturo-literary zoology.


Ahmad Faris Shidyaq - a Lebanese journalist and scolar

Ahmad Faris Shidyaq was born in 1804 in Ashqout, a mountain village in Lebanon as Faris (Al Chidiac) to educated Maronite Christian parents. For political reasons his family had to move several times.

Between 1825 and 1848, Faris divided his time in living in Cairo, was the editor-in-chief of an Egyptian newspaper, Al Waqa'eh Al Masriah ,and on the island of Malta, where he was the director of the printing press of American missionaries. He also worked as a writer and translator. In the time it is believed Faris converted to Protestantism.

In 1848 Faris Shidyaq was invited to Cambridge participate in the Arabic translation of the Bible, which is still considered one of the best Arabic translations of the Bible. Eventually he moved to Oxford, where he became naturalized as a British citizen. Around 1855 Faris moved to Paris, where he became intrigued by Socialism. The Paris period also presents one of his most fruitful periods.

In the late 1850s Faris moved to Tunisia, where he converted to Islam, and later to Istanbul.

Ahmad Faris Shidyaq is one of the most international and fruitful authors of the 19th century, who strongly defended use of the Arabic language and its heritage, opposing the Turkish attempts of the 19th century to change it. Many of his works were discovered and published in the 20th century.  


References: OCLC  85056798 & 863280087.