The Papers consist of manuscripts of translations made by Rehatsek often with notes, prefaces etc by Forster Fitzgerald Arbuthnot, to whom Rehatsek had sent the translations.
Papers of Edward Rehatsek
- This material is held at
- ReferenceGB 891 ER
- Dates of Creation[1878 - 1898][1947 - 1988]
- Name of Creator
- Language of MaterialEnglish
- Physical Description1 large archival box
Scope and Content
Administrative / Biographical History
Edward Rehatsek was born in 1819 in Ilok (then in Hungary, now in Croatia). He graduated from the university in Budapest with a masters degree in civil engineering. He left Hungary in 1842, visiting Paris before spending four years in the United States of America. In 1847 he sailed to India, where he remained for the rest of his life. He studied Asian languages and literature and accompanied Dr Bhau Daji on his research travels. As a competent mathematician and good Latin scholar, he became employed as Professor of Mathematics and of Latin at Wilson College, Bombay, remaining in post until 1871, besides giving private lessons in Latin, Persian, Arabic and French.
Rehatsek became an Examiner at Bombay University from 1869-1881, being made a Felwow in 1873 and twice being the Wilson Philological Lecturer in Hebrew and Semitic languages. In 1874 he was elected an honorary member of the Bombay Asiatic Society in recognition of his oriental learning. Rehatsek translated a number of Persian and Arabic works including "Biography of Our Lord Muhammad, the Apostle of Allah" according to Ibn Hisham, the first two parts of "Mirkhond's General History" and the first part of "The Rauzat-us-safa" for the Oriental Translation Fund.
Rehatsek remained unmarried and lived something of the life of a recluse. he had no servants and cooked his food using a spirit lamp. He owned a small house with little furniture but many books on which he worked continuously. He died on 11 December 1891 and was given a Hindu cremation at his request. His savings were left for the education of poor boys in Bombay.
Forster Fitzgerald (F.F.) Arbuthnot (1833-1901) was also a linguist and translator. He spent his early career in the Indian civil service in Bombay where he would have known Rehatsek. He was also a close friend of Richard Burton and collaborated with him on publications. He acted as an editor for some of Rehatsek's work.
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On the cover of ER/1/1, A Translation of the Nigaristan by Muir Uddin Jaiwuia, it states that the manuscript was given to the Royal Asiatic Society by F.F. Arbuthnot in 1895. In Thomas Wright's "The Life of Sir Richard Burton, Volume II" (Everett & Co., 1906), p.70-71, he states that these manuscripts were in the possession of Arbuthnot but failed to reach publication because of Arbuthnot's death but that these manuscripts were in the possession of the Royal Asiatic Society. In Appendix IX of the same volume, p.xiii, those manuscripts within these Papers which were not published are listed yu the author with some comments upon them. So it is possible that all the handwritten manuscripts were given to the Society by Arbuthnot in 1895.
These Papers were catalogued in 2018 by Nancy Charley, RAS Archivist.
Conditions Governing Use
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The translations are all the work of Edward Rehatsek who sent them to F.F. Arbuthnot for editing and possible publication. (There is some book post packaging with the material). The Papers have been annotated and organised by Arbuthnot whilst in his possession.