An Imam In Paris: Al-Tahtawi's Visit To France 1826-1831 by Daniel Newman
In the 1820s, Rifa'a Rafi' al-Tahtawi, a young Muslim cleric, travelled to Paris as a leading member of the first Egyptian educational mission, where, during a stay of five years, he documented his observations on European culture.
His account, Takhlis al-Ibriz fi Talkhis Bariz (The Quintessence of Paris), is one of the earliest and most influential records of the Muslim encounter with Enlightenment-era's European ideas, introducing ideas of modernity to his native land. Al-Tahtawi’s work offers invaluable insight into early conceptions of Europe and the "Other". His observations are as vibrant and palpable today as they were over one hundred and fifty years ago; informative and often acute, to very humorous effect.
An irrefutable classic, this new edition of the first English translation is of seminal value. It is introduced and carefully annotated by a scholar fluent in the life, times, and milieu of its narrator.