Papers of Edward William Lane

Scope and Content

There is one item in these Papers. This is a "List of books printed in Egypt, to the commencement of the year of the Flight 1251 - with their prices. Copied (without correction of any trifling errors) from a register lent to me by the principal agent for the sale of these books. E.W.L". Handwritten, 4 sides. The introductory note bearing the title and an ending note about monetary equivalent in Sterling are in English. The list in Arabic.

Administrative / Biographical History

Edward William Lane was born in Hereford on 17 September 1801, the third son of Rev. Dr Theophilus Lane. He was educated in Bath and Hereford and then went to London to study engraving and began learning Arabic. However he had poor health, so decided to see if life in Egypt would suit him better. He arrived in Alexandria in 1825 and spent two and a half years wandering around Egypt dressed as a Turk, improving his Arabic and making notes of all he saw. The result was his "Manners and Customs of the Modern Egyptians" in two volumes, a best-seller at the time. Lane realised that his work was incomplete because he did not have access to the women-only areas of the society. His sister, Sophia Lane Poole, therefore also travelled to Egypt which resulted in the publication of "The Englishwoman in Egypt: Letters from Cairo", written during a residence there in 1842, 3 & 4, with E.W. Lane Esq., Author of "The Modern Egyptians" By His Sister – the publication only bearing his name and not hers.

Lane's next major project was his translation of the "One Thousand and One Nights". His version was first published in monthly parts in the years 1838 to 1840, and then in three volumes in 1840. A revised edition came out in 1859. Thus his edition was before that of Richard Burton's and was probably considered by Burton as one of those versions that were sanitised to satisfy nineteenth century morality. His encyclopedic annotations to the stories were published after his death by his great-nephew, Stanley-Lane Poole, as Arabian Society in the Middle Ages.

Conditions Governing Access

Open. Please contact the archivist. nc@royalasiaticsociety.org The archive is open on Tuesdays and Fridays 10-5, and Thursdays 2-5. Access is to any researcher without appointment but it will help if an appointment is made via phone or email. Please bring photo ID

Acquisition Information

It is unknown how this list came to be part of the Collections.

Archivist's Note

The material was catalogued by Nancy Charley, RAS Archivist, in 2019.

Conditions Governing Use

Digital photography (without flash) for research purposes may be permitted upon completion of a copyright declaration form, and with respect to current UK copyright law.

Custodial History

The custodial history is unknown.

Related Material

There are several books by and about Edward William Lane in our Library Collections. Full details can be found in our Library Catalogue .