In Die Rifāīya Boris Liebrenz explores the book culture of Ottoman Syria (16th to 19th century), using the only surviving Damascene private library of the time as a vantage point. He asks about the production and transmission of knowledge as well as the social background of the reading audience in a manuscript age. Scholarship on Arabic libraries has often focussed on the medieval period and relied nearly exclusively on literary accounts. This is the first book-length study that focuses on a single region in the Ottoman period and systematically uses the vast number of surviving manuscripts as a documentary source by means of the notes left by their readers and possessors. Thus, it sheds light on the material, juridical, and social basis of book-ownership and reading-- Provided by Publisher.
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