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Islamic Manuscript Studies

Resources for the study of manuscripts produced in the Islamic world and the manuscript cultures they represent.

Bibliographies and bio-bibliographical surveys

Arabic literature

Āghā Buzurg al-Ṭihrānī. al-Dharīʻah ilá taṣānīf al-Shīʻah. Bayrūt : Dār al-Aḍwāʾ, 1983. (Buhr BP 193 .A39 1983 v.1-26, also available online)

Brockelmann, Carl. Geschichte der arabischen Litteratur (GAL). Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1996 (Hatcher PJ 7510 .B86 1996 v.1-2, PJ 7510 .B86 1996 suppl. v.1-3, also available online)

_______. History of the Arabic Written Tradition, translated by Joep Lameer. Leiden: Brill, 2016 (DS 3 .A2 H24 Abt.1 v.117 v.1-2 suppl.1-2 also available online)

Ḥājjī Khalīfah (Katip Çelebi). Kashf al-ẓunūn ʻan asāmī al-kutub wa-al-funūn, Şerefettin Yaltkaya and Kilisli Rifat Bilge, Eds. Istanbul: Maarıf Matbaası, 1941-1943 (Hatcher Z 7052 .K18 1941 v.1-2, also available online)

Hunwick, John O. and R. S. O’Fahey, Eds. Arabic Literature of Africa. Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1994- (Hatcher Near East Reference DS 3 .A2 H24 Abt.1 v.13 pt.1-4, also available online)

Ibn al-Nadīm. Kitâb al-Fihrist.Gustav Flügel, ed. Leipzig: Verlag von F.C.W. Vogel, 1871 (Buhr PJ 7521 .I13 N14 1871 v.1-2)

-------. The Fihrist of al-Nadīm: A Tenth century Survey of Muslim Culture, Bayard Dodge, transl. and ed. New York: Columbia University Press, 1970 (Hatcher Near East Reference PJ 7521 .I13 N143 v.1-2)

-------. Kitāb al-Fihrist. Ayman Fuʾād Sayyid, ed. London: Al-Furqan Islamic Heritage Foundation, 2009.

Ismāʻīl Bāshā al-Bābānī al-Baghdādī  (Bağdatlı İsmail Paşa). Hadīyat al-ʻārifīn asmāʾ al-muʾallifīn wa-athār al-muṣannifīn. Baghdād : Maktabat al-Muthanná, [1972?] (Buhr and Hatcher Near East Reference Z 7052 .I83, also available online)

Ismāʻīl Bāshā al-Bābānī al-Baghdādī (Bağdatlı İsmail Paşa). Īḍāḥ al-maknūn fī al-dhayl ʻalá Kashf al-ẓunūn. Istanbul, Milli Eḡitim Basimevi, 1945-47 (Buhr Z 7052 .I84 1945 v.1-2)

Kaḥḥālah, ʻUmar. Muʻjam al-muʾallifīn: tarājim muṣannifī al-kutub al-ʻArabīyah. Bayrūt : Muʾassasat al-Risālah, 1993 (Hatcher Near East Reference PJ 7521 .K12 1993 v.1-4)

Sezgin, Fuat. Geschichte des arabischen Schrifttums (GAS). Leiden, E.J. Brill, 1967- (Hatcher PJ 7510 .S47 v.1-15)

al-Ziriklī, Khayr al-Dīn. al-Aʻlām: qāmūs tarājim li-ashhar al-rijāl wa-al-nisāʻ min al-ʻArab wa-al-mustaʻribīn wa-al-mustashriqīn.  Bayrūt: Dār al-ʻIlm lil-Malāyīn, 1979 (Hatcher Near East Reference D198.3 .Z82 1979 v.1-8)

Persian literature

Browne, Edward G. A Literary History of Persia. Cambridge: The University press, 1928 (Hatcher PK 6097 .B88 1928 v.1-4)

Rieu, Charles. Catalogue of the Persian Manuscripts in the British Museum. London: The British Museum, [1876] 1879-1883 (Hatcher Near East Reference Z 6621 .B86 P4 v.1-3)

Rypka, Jan. History of Iranian Literature. Dordrecht, D. Reidel [1968] (Hatcher Near East Reference PK 6097 .R983 1968)

Storey, C. A. Persian Literature: A Bio-bibliographical Survey. London: Luzac, 1970- (Hatcher Z 7085 .S88 1970) 

--------. Persian Literature: A Bio-bibliographical Survey. Leiden: Brill, 2020-2021 (Handbook of Oriental Studies. Section 1 The Near and Middle East, Volume 149) [also available online open access]

  • Volume I.1: Qurʾānic Literature, History, and Biography
  • Volume I.2: Biography, Additions, and Corrections
  • Volume II: Mathematics; Weights, and Measures; Astronomy, and Astrology; Geography; Medicine; Encyclopaedias, and Miscellanies; Arts and Crafts, Science, Occult Arts
  • Volume III: Lexicography; Grammar; Prosody, and Poetics; Rhetoric, Riddles, and Chronograms; Ornate Prose; Proverbs: Tales
  • Volume IV: Law; Tradition; Religion, Sufism, Baha’ism, Prayers; Hinduism; Translations from Sanskrit, Hindi, and other Indian Languages, Ethics; Philosophy; Logic
  • Volume V: Poetry of the Pre-Mongol Period

Turkish literature

Babinger, Franz. Die Geschichtsschreiber der Osmanen und ihre Werke. Leipzig, O. Harrassowitz, 1927 (Hatcher Graduate and Buhr DR 438.8 .B15)

Blochet, E. Catalogue des manuscrits turcs. Paris: Bibliothèque nationale, 1932-33 (Hatcher Near East Reference Z 6621 .P22 T94 v.1-2)

Bombaci, Alessio. Storia della letteratura turca dall'antico impero di Mongolia all'odierna Turchia.  [Milano]: Nuova accademia editrice, [1956] (Buhr PL 205 .B68)

-------. Histoire de la litterature turque, trans. I. Melikoff. Paris : C. Klincksieck, 1968 (Hatcher PL 205 .B684)

Bursalı Mehmet Tahir. Osmanlı müellifleri. İstanbul : Meral Yayınevi, [1972]-1975 (Hatcher Near East Reference PL213 .M42 v.1-3)

Gibb, E. J. W. A History of Ottoman Poetry. London: Luzac, 1900-1909 (Hatcher PL 217 .G44 v.1-6)

Historians of the Ottoman Empire (available online), Eds. Hakan Karateke, Cemal Kafadar, and Cornell Fleischer. 

Hofman, H. F. Turkish Literature: A Bio-bibliographical Survey. Utrecht, Library of the University of Utrecht,1969 (Buhr PL213 .H72 sect.3 pt.1 v.1-3, 4-6)

Mehmet Süreyya Bey. Sicill-i Osmanı̂. [İstanbul] : Matbaa-yı Âmire, 1308-1316? [1891-1899?] (Buhr DR 438 .S94 1891 v.1-4)

-------. Sicill-i Osmanı̂ = Osmanlı ünlüleri. İstanbul : Kültür Bakanlığı, 1996 (Hatcher DR 438 .S94 1996 v.1-6)

Pakalın, Mehmed Zeki. Sicill-i Osmanî zeyli : son devir Osmanlı meşhurları ansiklopedisi. Ankara : Türk Tarih Kurumu, 2008-2009 (Hatcher DR 438 .P35 2008 v.1-19)

Rieu, Charles. Catalogue of the Turkish Manuscripts in the British Museum. London: British Museum, 1888 (Buhr Z6621.B86 T8; electronic version in HathiTrust, etc.; reprint Hatcher Z6621.B86 T8 1978)

Türk dili ve edebiyatı ansiklopedisi.  [İstanbul] : Dergâh Yayınları, 1977- (Hatcher Near East Reference PL202 .T83 v.1-8)

Yaşamları ve yapıtlarıyla Osmanlılar ansiklopedisi. Istanbul: Yapı Kredi Yayınları, 1999.

Using Brockelmann's GAL

A few tips and stratgies for using Brockelmann's Geschichte der arabischen Litteratur and supplements (GAL):

  • Unfortunately Brockelmann's list of sources addresses only some but not all of the abbreviations he uses (for the manuscript repositories, etc.) ; Witkam (see below) therefore wisely suggests consulting Roper's World Survey alongside the GAL. The English translation of Joep Lameer also includes explanation of the abbreviations. 
  • Page numbers of the original print edition (found in the margins of the 1996 reprint) are referenced in the supplements and are preferred for citation.
  • Using the print (original volumes 1898-1902, supplements 1937-1942, 2nd edition of the original volumes 1943-1949, complete reprint 1996) and electronic versions (available via Brill Online ca.2008) together is most advisable.
  • The print is ideal for browsing (by opening title word or ism of author) and for citation.
  • Navigating the print by title (via the title index) is much more straightforward than by author given the complexities of Arabic nomenclature.
  • While the online version (available via subscription) is searchable (keeping in mind the DMG rules of transliteration) and therefore serves well for locating items by some word of the title other than the first or some piece of an author's name (ism, kunyah, nisbah, laqab, etc.), it unfortunately does not provide the page numbers (making conventional citation difficult). Ideally, one could search the online version and then consult the print to complete the citation.

For further advice, see the following:

  • Jan Just Witkam's introduction to the 1996 Brill reprint, available in print (Hatcher Near East Reference PJ 7510 .B86 1996 v.1-2 and suppl. v.1-3) and electronically via the Library's subscription to Brill Online.
  • Richard S. Cooper's "How to use the GAL," MELA Notes 3 (Oct. 1973): 18-20 (available online)

The English translation by Joep Lameer is another extremely valuable resource, available in print and online. Pagination is provided even in the online edition.