Animal Fables

[Kalila wa Dimna]. Diez, Heinrich Friedrich von. Über Inhalt und Vortrag, Entstehung und Schicksale des königlichen Buchs, eines Werkes von der Regierungskunst als Ankündigung einer Übersetzung nebst Probe aus dem Türkisch-Persisch-Arabischen des Waassi Aly Dschelebi.

Berlin, gedruckt auf eigene Kosten (bey Johann Friedrich Weiss), in Kommission der Nicolaischen Buchhandlung, 1811.

8vo. (2), 214 pp. Modern marbled boards with printed spine label. Edges sprinkled.

 1,500.00

First edition.

A scholarly account, and partial German translation, of Ali Vasi Celebi's "Humayunnama" - a Turkish translation of the Persian "Anvar-i suhayli" (Light of Canopus), completed before 1543, which is in itself an adaptation of "Kalila wa Dimna", or the "Fables of Bidpai", a collection of animal fables with didactic overtones designed to illustrate wise conduct.

The oriental scholar H. F. Diez (1751-1817) had trained as a jurist but, bored by his administrative occupation, soon left the Prussian civil service and in 1784 went to Constantinople as Frederick the Great's chargé d'affaires at the Sublime Porte. He was ennobled after only two years of successful diplomatic service. Recalled in 1790 on the eve of the Russo-Turkish War, the self-confessed Turkophile soon retired to the life of an independent scholar and book collector in Berlin. His orientalist publications captured the attention of the learned world, and he moved in the circles of Goethe, Gleim, and Alexander von Humboldt, though largely outside the contemporary tradition of academic oriental studies. "Between his years in Constantinople and his death, Diez pursued his Orientalist studies with extraordinary energy. A string of books authored by Diez and mostly self-published appeared in 1811 [...] Even if many aspects of his scholarly life are almost forgotten, his merits, especially for the development of Turkish studies, are noteworthy [...] His works, almost completely printed at his own expense, reflect his interest in the origins of Asian cultures, literatures, and politics, as well as everyday issues and ethics" (J. Gonnella et al. [ed.], The Diez Albums [Leiden, 2017], p. 58, 76).

A fine copy, well-preserved throughout.

Chauvin II, p. 49, no. 70. Ruppert 756. Goedeke VII, 589, 61, 1.

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