This important collection of articles by leading international scholars in the field of publishing and printing in the languages and countries of the Middle East results from a symposium held at the Gutenburg Museum in the Mainz in conjunction with the first World Congress for Middle Eastern Studies (Wocmes) in September 2002. It embraces significant developments throughout the length and breadth of the Middle East from London, Malta, Istanbul, Cairo, Palestine, Sudan, Zanzibar, Persia, Turkistan, to Calcutta, covering the period from the first state press in the Arab world established in the early nineteenth century and bringing the issue right up-to-date with an impassioned plea for a cultural rebirth in Arabic typography (Huda Smitshuijzen AbiFares).
The study breaks previously neglected ground with articles on the book production of the early Bulaq press in Egypt (1822-51) (Cheng-Hsiang Hsu); advertising agencies in Egypt, 1890-1939 (Relli Shechter); Arabic books printed in Malta 1826-42 Palestine (Ami Ayalon and Rene Wildangel); Christian missionaries and colloquial Arabic printing (Heather Sharkey); the early history of publishing on the East African island of Zanzibar (Philip Sadgrove); the participation of Iraqi Jews in European and Indian journalistic enterprises (Orit Bashkin); a young Ottoman exile newspaper in London, Hurrihet, (1868-1928) and its owner Osman Zeki Bey (Nedret Kuran-Burcoglu); Persian books published in Turkistan (Olympia Scheglova); and TULLIP, a projected thesaurus of Persian lithographic works (Ulrich Marzolph). This goes some way to fill some of the lacunae in our knowledge of the development of printing and publishing in the area. Much more emphasis needs to be given to the print media and its role in social, political and cultural developments; a second symposium is to be held at the Bibliotheque nationale de France in Paris in November 2005.