Ahmad Faris al- Shidyaq

Shidyaq, Ahmad Faris al-


Born 1804 in Ashkot, Lebanon; died 1887 in Constantinople. Arabic educator and writer of Lebanon.

The son of a Maronite Christian, Shidyaq graduated from a religious school in 1828. From 1834 to 1838, after converting to Protestantism, he did translations into Arabic for an American missionary publishing house in Malta, including a translation of the New Testament. After visiting the court of the Tunisian bey, he converted to Islam in 1855. In 1857, at the invitation of the Turkish sultan, he moved to Constantinople, where he founded the influential semiofficial newspaper Al-Jawaib (1857–84).

In his publicist writings, al-Shidyaq advocated pan-Arabism under the aegis of the Turkish sultan; he sharply criticized Egyptian nationalists. In Constantinople, Shidyaq published his own writings on philology and linguistics and edited more than 20 works of medieval Arabic literature. Perhaps his best-known work, which is similar to an adventure novel, is Tale of Faryaq (1855). In this novel Shidyaq described, in a Rabelaisian spirit, his own travels around Europe (Faryaq was a cryptonym of Far-[is Shidjyaq). He also criticized the social relations and mores of Eastern society in the work.


Fakhuri, H. al-. Istoriia arabskoi literatury, vol. 2. Moscow, 1961. Pages 415–20.
Krymskii, A. E. Istoriia novoi arabskoi literatury. Moscow, 1971. Pages 233–44.


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