A Brill Calendar: September 7
Few calendar years in European history have been the subject of more optimism than the year 1889.
Exactly one hundred years after the fall of the Parisian Bastille, the rise of the creation of Gustav Eiffel had become a new icon for an old civilization. Anticipation is in the air: with the age of steam, traveling within Europe has ceased to be prohibitively cumbersome and expensive for reasonably affluent people.
The world of scholarship and learning benefitted from these innovations as well; and often earlier than others. Written correspondence with one’s peers could now be complemented by a quick exchange between important seats of learning in parts of Europe, hardly accessible before; while scholarly publishing developed a new momentum and significance. A charming example of this trend is the menu offered to Members of the VIIth ‘Congrès International des Oriëntalistes’ at Stockholm September 7 1889, printed in some 14 different scripts; from Demotic Egyptian to classic Arabic; each course of this ‘grande bouffe’ is described ‘en pastiche’ and jocularly by an important scholar.
It is seldom that comprehensive proficiency in printing exotic and often hardly known languages was expressed with so much proud gaiety; all congress-attendants knowing perfectly well, that no publishing firm but E.J. Brill of Leyden could have pulled off the trick. The champagne of the feast was commented upon by a Muslim scholar, well known for his abstinence from alcohol consumption!
2013, May 17
2013, April 11
2013, April 11