Thu

07

Feb

2013

Kitab Celebi

Today, I chanced on a book by Kitab Celebi himself on archive.org

http://archive.org/details/MN40230ucmf_5

It was the scholar's last work. I read through the portion in the Introduction (p.7-14)  about his life given by the translator Geoffrey Lewis, plus the section in the Conclusion where Kitab Celebi gave a summary of his own life (p.135-145).

 

The following is what he has to say about his famous bibliography: (p.143-144)

"The bibliographical material I had so far collected, from histories and biographical dictionaries, I set in the proper order, and moreover the names of the many thousands of volumes in the libraries I had personally examined, and the books which for twenty years the book-sellers had been bringing to me in a steady stream -- all were recorded in their appropriate place, and I added over three hundred articles on the various branches of knoweldge, taken from the textbooks on the axioms of the sciences, all in alphabetical order, and I discussed many topics and unusual questions. I designed it to be a comprehensive work on the knowledge of the sciences and of bibliography, and I called it Kashf al-zunun 'an asami'l-kutub wa'l-funun ('Opinion's Scrutiny of the Names of Books and the Sciences'). At the request of those scholars who had seen it in draft, when it had reached the letter ha fair copies of the first volume were prepared and presented to the leading Ulema. They liked it and approved it." 

(diacritical marks above u's and a's omitted)

 

He is the ultimate bibliophile!

 

BTW, this also corrects two information I gave in my earlier blog post:

http://lawpark.jimdo.com/2011/10/09/key-figures-of-islamic-tradition-according-to-marshall-hodgson-10/

1. He died in October 1657 (p.8), not in 1658 as given by Hodgson (I assume this book is more accuract than Hodgson's?)

2. He was not a bookseller, as I seem to have understood from Hodgson

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