Dolce Far Niente In Arabia – Georg August Wallin and his Travels in the 1840s
Translator: David McDuff
Author: Patricia Berg, Kaj Ohrnberg, Jaakko Hameen-Anttila and Heikki Palva
Publisher: Museum Tusculanum Press/Society of Swedish Literature in Finland
Year of Publication: 2014
In the 1840s the Finnish orientalist Georg August Wallin traveled in the Middle East, where he collected material on Arabic dialects.
In the 1840s the Finnish orientalist Georg August Wallin traveled in the Middle East, where he collected material on Arabic dialects. Considered an eminent scholar by his contemporaries, he died an untimely death shortly after his seven-year journey and was therefore able to publish only a fraction of his material. Gathering together what we know of Wallin’s work, the scholars in this book tell the fascinating story of his life and travels in Egypt, the Arabian Peninsula, and Persia.
In order to make contact with local inhabitants, Wallin assumed a Muslim identity and disguised himself as the physician ‘Abd al-Wali’ from Central Asia. Inquisitive and sharp-eyed, he was able to document daily life among the urban dwellers of Cairo and the Bedouin of the northern Arabian Peninsula, preserving his unique material in letters and diaries written in his native language—Swedish—but, interestingly, sometimes rendered in the Arabic alphabet. Recounting his adventures through the ancient and holy lands of the Middle East, the authors here also highlight Wallin’s importance as a pathbreaking ethnographer and linguistic researcher.