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"The history of the forty viziers" in Ottoman Turkish, beautifully printed in Arabic type by the Imprimerie Impériale in Paris, with a contemporary literal manuscript translation by a French orientalist

[AHMED-I MISRI and/or SEYHZADE]. BELLETESTE, Henri-Nicolas (editor).

[in Arabic type:] Kýrk vezir hikâyeleri ... = Contes Turcs en langue Turque, extraits de roman intitulé, Les quarante vizirs.
Paris, Imprimerie Impériale ("chez" (sold by?) Guillaume Debure and sons), 1812. 4to. With the text in Ottoman Turkish set entirely in Arabic type, with only a second title-page in French, the book opening from the left wrapper with the Turkish title-page and the pages proceeding from left to right, while it opens from the right wrapper with the French title-page. The Turkish and French title-pages, the former in a decorative frame, include Napoleons woodcut imperial coat of arms: eagle clutching a thunderbolt, mantled and with the imperial crown, the collar (with an "N") and badge of the Legion of Honour and the crossed sceptres of mercy and justice, printed from two different blocks (that on the Turkish title-page is smaller and the points of the sceptres extend beyond the mantling). The first page of the text is set in a richly decorated frame in the traditional Islamic style. With: (2) IDEM. A second copy of the same edition, omitting the Turkish title-page and the last 50 leaves (pp. 161-258 & 2 unnumbered), but including the original publishers front wrapper (containing a short form of the title), and with a French manuscript translation of the Turkish text written in the margins.
Ad 1 in contemporary blue paper wrappers with a white printed spine label, stored in a 20th-century custom-made case: half red morocco with the title in gold on the spine and block-printed (green on white) paste-paper sides; ad 2 sewn and with the original publishers printed-paper front wrapper. [2], 258, [2]; 160 pp.

€ 12,500

The first edition in the "original" Ottoman Turkish, beautifully set and printed in Arabic type by the Imprimerie Impériale in Paris, of what in English is often called The history of the forty viziers. This collection of Turkish folk tales is a variation on the Thousand and one nights stories.
Ad 1: A complete copy of the 1812 edition in contemporary wrappers. It contains an introduction, the story of (and dedication to) the Ottoman Sultan Murad II, the frame story, twenty stories of the viziers and twenty stories of the women, and a conclusion.
Ad 2: A unique annotated copy, containing a literal manuscript translation of the first 160 pages of the Ottoman Turkish text. The translation and further annotations on Ottoman Turkish syntax and vocabulary are written in a (near) contemporary hand in brown ink, often filling the margins. The marginal annotations were probably written around the 1820's by an unidentified French orientalist.
This particular manuscript translation is unique and one of the very first French translations of these stories. Although this copy lacks the Turkish title-page and all after p. 160 (including the French title-page that normally appears at the end), it includes the publishers front wrapper, with a shortened title.
Both copies are nearly untrimmed, giving generous margins, but as a result the edges are slightly frayed. The wrappers of ad 1 are slightly stained and slightly damaged, mainly around the spine and edges, without affecting the integrity of the binding. Its custom-made case is slightly scuffed around the corners and edges. Otherwise in good condition. The front wrapper of ad 2 is detached and there is no back wrapper, the spine is damaged and, as noted above, the Arabic title-page and the last leaves of the book are lacking. These two copies, the one complete and the other incomplete but with remarkable additions, including the unique French manuscript translation, form an extraordinary example of early 19th-century printing in Arabic type by the French Imprimerie Impériale. Atabey 908 (incomplete: 207 pp.); Sheykh-Zada (ed., trans. & intro. by E.J.W. Gibb), The history of the forty vezirs or The story of the forty morns and eves (1886), pp. viii-ix & passim; not in Blackmer.

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Book history, education, learning & printing  >  Greek & Non-Western Types
History, law & philosophy  >  Women Studies
Literature & linguistics  >  Literature & Linguistics
Middle east & islamic world  >  Arabic Printing & Calligraphy | Islamic Art & Culture | Turkey & Ottoman Empire