It was published in eight volumes during the second half of the 19th century. It consists of Arabic words defined and explained in the English language. But Lane does not use his own knowledge of Arabic to give definitions to the words. Instead, the definitions are taken from older Arabic dictionaries, primarily medieval Arabic dictionaries. Lane translates these definitions into English, and he carefully notes which dictionaries are giving which definitions.
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Early years[ edit ] Lane was born at Hereford , England, the third son of the Rev. He visited Cambridge, but did not enrol in any of its colleges. At the same time Lane began his study of Arabic on his own. However, his health soon deteriorated. For the sake of his health and of a new career, he set sail to Egypt. During the s, those who spoke Arabic and were familiar with the Near East could easily apply for jobs serving the British government. Lane set sail for Egypt on the 18th of July He remained in Egypt for two and a half years, mingling with the locals, dressed as a Turk the ethnicity of the then-dominant Ottoman Empire , taking notes of his experiences and observations.
He also became friend with other British travellers in Egypt at that time, including John Gardner Wilkinson , who had been residing in Cairo.
Lane also went on a trip down the Nile to Nubia , visiting numerous sites and taking observational notes. This rejection was probably due to the fact that the book had detailed accounts of Egypt, numerous illustrations, and texts in Arabic, Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics and Ancient Greek which would significantly raise the cost of printing.
Large publications were also going out of fashion and Lane was not himself an established author. Due to financial shortcomings, Lane could not publish the book himself, so it remained unpublished until He was a devout urban geographer , best illustrated by the fact that he devoted five chapters of the book writing about everything in Cairo : the way the city looks when you approach it, a detailed account of Old Cairo , monuments in the city, the nature around it, etc.
Though Lane was not credited as such during his lifetime, his text follows the form of Egyptology. The book included a supplement titled On the Ancient Egyptians in which Lane discusses the origin and physical characteristics of Egyptians, the origin of their civilization, hieroglyphics , Ancient Egyptian religion and law, Egyptian priesthood, Egyptian royalty, the caste system, general manners and customs, sacred architecture and sculpture, agriculture, and commerce.
Lane left detailed accounts of everyday life in Egypt in the 19th century, which would prove useful to later researchers. Arthur John Arberry visited Egypt a century after Lane and said that it was like visiting another planet - none of the things Lane had written about were present.
Lane Esq. His version first saw light as a monthly serial from to , and was published in three volumes in A revised edition was released in The encyclopedic annotations were published posthumously and separately in by his great-nephew Stanley Lane-Poole , as Arabian Society in the Middle Ages. One[ who? Word order is frequently and pointlessly inverted. Where the style is not pompously high-flown, it is often painfully and uninspiringly literal It is also peppered with Latinisms.
Al-Disqui assisted in locating manuscripts and proofreading these manuscripts for Lane. The two became close during this period and continued to stay friends after they finished the Lexicon. It was neither a critical nor a commercial success. Moreover, it was misprint-ridden as Lane was for the third time in Egypt with his family collecting materials for the Arabic-English Lexicon when it was being printed.
The work is attributed by some to Lane. His brother, Richard James Lane , was a notable Victorian-era engraver and lithographer known for his portraits.
In , Lane married Nafeesah, a Greek-Egyptian woman who had originally been either presented to him or purchased by him as a slave when she was around eight years old, and whom he had undertaken to educate. His manuscripts and drawings are in the archive of the Griffith Institute , University of Oxford.
E. W. Lane: Arabic-English Lexicon (2 Volume Set)
Edward William Lane