In an antique land The cover proclaims IAAL “History in the guise of a traveller’s tale,” and the multi-generic book moves back and forth between Ghosh’s. Once upon a time an Indian writer named Amitav Ghosh set out to find an Indian slave, name unknown, who some seven hundred years before had traveled to. In An Antique Land is written by the anthropologist, Amitav Ghosh and the publishers marketed it as ‘..a subversive history in the guise of a.

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The book continues to complicate itself throughout it’s second half, merging narratives and coming to deceptively simple and elegant conclusions about the relationships between people, between states, and between the present and past.

Just watch us pray, and soon you will understand what Islam is. It’ll be better than the best television set in Nashawy, insha’allah, and it’ll be in colour too.

Clapping me on the back, he told his uncle: To get the most of this book, don’t be afraid to wiki references Galen, Maimonides for a historical context and also it’s good to have a pretty decent working knowledge of Muslim and Hindi culture.

People had felt sorry for him to begin with, but later the injury had proved such an advantage that everyone had begun to wonder about its authenticity: Aug 23, Jeanne rated it really liked it Recommends it for: It’s the best chapter in the book. By the end of the eighteenth century, Egypt had become the scholarly counterpart of those great landmasses that were then being claimed and explored by European settlers: I never quite figured out what exactly he was doing there other than that he was an anthro I think and talk about this book a lot.

Possibly Fustat even had something of the distinctive look of an Egyptian village: I only finished it as a matter of principle but I felt it was trying to teach me all the time and I struggled to get involved with the characters.

Full text of “In an Antique Land”

The two parts of the story told are Ghosh’s long stay and subsequent visits to rural Egypt and the historic relationship that so captivated the then-young anthropologist-in-training’s interest in the Middle East: Butler, as a small and somewhat simplified version of a Coptic basilica. The Synagogue’s location has not altered, whatever the changes in its outer shell. Thanks for telling us about the problem. The man who had knocked him over was from a big and powerful family.



Masr had long since ceased to zntique the mistress of her own destiny; she had become lans province of the Ottoman Empire, which was itself enfeebled now, allowed to keep its territories only by the consent of the Great Powers.

So I am grateful. Oct 06, Mai rated it really liked it. Some of them ran towards me as soon as I climbed out of the truck. The lane years of his life were spent in Egypt, and his papers found their way into his synagogue in Cairo: Or rather, there are just so many theses presentand they are all coherent and graspable despite their number because this book is a piece of rock carved from the mountain of Reality, perhaps sculpted and polished, but evoking the whole within the part, like a fractal or a hologram.

This is an illuminating work on several levels.

Reaching for his hand I gave it a vigorous shake. The journey took him to a small village in Egypt, where medieval customs coexist with twentieth-century desires and discontents. The novelty of mixing historical writing with personal narrative was not enough to save this book from being just plain uninteresting. A hush fell upon the courtyard as I walked up to the machine; a dozen heads craned forward, watching my every move.

Jun 09, Arvind rated it liked it Shelves: I wonder if he will write a preface? I actually didn’t care much for the history part the slaves and allwhat I enjoy the most in this book was the part where the author recounted his stay in Egypt.

Lists with This Book. The meal that was set out on the tray in front of us was a very good one: It was not enough to see the sun going down with one’s eyes; the breaking of the fast was the beginning of a meal of communion that embraced millions of people and the moment had to be celebrated publicly and in unison. The first, an anthropological narrative, revolves around two visits made by Ghosh to two villages in the Nile Deltawhile he was writing his doctoral dissertation —81 and again a few years later You don’t have to do anything.

Nothing could be more important.

Overall, the Ben Yiju sub-plot added to the past-meets-present theme of the book, but it almost had a Biblical style of listing familial ties and laundry lists of trade interactions, which tended to lose my attention. Amitav Ghosh ends his tale there and tries to wrap up his historical thread also, drawing tenuous parallels between modern times and a story that he is largely obliged to guess on the basis of some ambiguous letters. He left after spending two exhausting days inside, without encountering ‘any fiery serpents or scorpions’, and taking only a ‘few leaves from various old books and manuscripts’.


Amitav Ghosh – “In An Antique Land”

That evening, towards sunset, I went for a walk in the fields. The only alternative left was to start by going through Goitein’s work and tracking the Slave through references to Abraham Ben Yiju. As the days passed the thought of my trip became ever more exciting.

Their refusal made Saphir all the more determined to investigate, and he returned to the Synagogue after obtaining permission to enter the chamber from the head of the Rabbinical court.

After that I would go to Cairo: He would end up selling a whole truckload of carrots at a loss; it was better to plant many different kinds of vegetables, less of a risk. A consignment of Indian pepper in which he and Ben Yiju had invested jointly has been lost in a shipwreck off the narrow straits that lead into the Red Sea.

The only shame is that he overstretched himself with the dual narrative theme, a challenge that few ever manage to pass off successfully and even more unlikely a stunt when dealing with ancient anthropology.

This is another eventful year in the Middle East: A mix of antiquity, the interaction of several faiths and contemporary travels and the author researching records of a 12th century slave.

Once upon a time an Indian writer named Amitav Ghosh set out to find an Indian slave, name unknown, who some seven hundred years before had traveled to the Middle East. The Egyptians were defeated inand in the aftermath of the war the British assumed direct control of the country’s administration.

The point was to provide a kind of contrapuntal narrative, but I never felt like they cohered very well.