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W&L Arabic Professor Publishes Paper in International Peer-Reviewed Journal Anthony Edwards illustrates his case study that focuses on Khalīl al-Khūrī, a central figure of the Nahḍa.

Anthony-Edwards-scaled-600x400 W&L Arabic Professor Publishes Paper in International Peer-Reviewed JournalAnthony Edwards, associate professor of Arabic

Anthony Edwards, associate professor of Arabic at Washington and Lee University, has published a paper in the international peer-reviewed journal Die Weld des Islams.

The article, titled “The Business of Publishing in the Early Beirut Nahḍa: Khalīl al-Khūrī, Partnerships, and the Literary Committee,” examines the business and economics of publishing in the early Beirut Nahḍa. It is described as a realistic account of the mid-19th century print world during the Arabic literary revival.

Edwards received a Lenfest Summer Research Grant to conduct his research on the subject, which included a case study of Khalīl al-Khūrī’s (1836–1907) newspaper and press, as well as a comprehensive study of al-ʿUmda al-Adabiyya li-Ishhār al-Kutub al-ʿArabiyya, a publishing partnership for which al-Khūrī was the project runner and printer.

In his article, Edwards demonstrates that the practice of patronage to bring original works to print shows how money facilitated cultural production in the 1850s, noting the operational challenges and financial difficulties of being a cultural entrepreneur and printing pioneer. The conclusions illustrate the role of crowdfunding and the importance of cooperation among the middle class of Beirut.

“This study is a deep dive on the early Arab ‘print revolution’ in Beirut,” said Edwards. “Taking Khalīl al-Khūrī as a case study, I explored the trials and tribulations he endured when launching his two-prong enterprise — a press and a newspaper — and demonstrated how financial and logistical support from Christian and Muslim middling peers ultimately enabled him to flourish. Like al-Khūrī, who could not have succeeded without help, I could not have completed this research without the endless support of archivists and librarians in both Beirut and Lexington, especially the Leyburn Library’s own Laura Hewett and Elizabeth Teaff.”

Edwards, who has taught at W&L since 2015, was the 2019 recipient of the H. Hiter Harris III Rising Star Award as a top junior faculty member in Virginia. He holds a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts in Arabic from Georgetown University and a Ph.D. in Middle Eastern languages and cultures from the University of Texas at Austin.

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