2003

B3 -- Asia and Middle East


Arab-Islamic Biographical Archive = Arabisch-Islamisches biographisches Archiv (AIBA). Comp. U. Kramme and Z. Urra Muena. München [et al.]: Saur, 1995– . ISBN 3-598-33880 -5 (diazo fiches): EUR 9,800 [99-B09-216]

The fact that only a third of this work has appeared at the time of this review makes this a provisional evaluation; the usefulness of the product will depend on the quality of the indexes, which will not appear until two years after the text. As the title indicates, this is not a national biographical archive, but covers a cultural entity—the Islamic sphere of the Arabian Peninsula, the Middle East, India, and Islamic Spain—from the beginning of Islam to the present. Most of the material so far deals with personages of medieval Islam. Sources are limited to those in the common European languages.

The structure of Arabic-Islamic names makes it difficult to arrange them in an easily usable order, which means that the quality of the indexing will determine the overall usefulness of the archive. Its content is indisputably valuable. [ww/mjc]

Who’s Who in Lebanon 1997/98. Beirut: Publitec Publications; München [et al.]: Saur, 1996. 498 p. 29 cm. ISSN 0083-9612; ISBN 3-598-07647-9: DM 348 [99-B09-217]

Who’s Who in the Arab World 1997/98. Beirut: Publitec Publications; München [et al.]: Saur, 1996. 988 p. 29 cm. ISSN 0083-9752; ISBN 3-598-07646-0: DM 598 [99-B09-218]

Who’s Who in the Arab World (published irregularly), covering 19 Arab states, and Who’s Who in Lebanon (published biannually) are complementary publications. The Arab volume also includes a section of important facts about each country and information on the economics and politics of Arab regions. These are worth purchasing for the biographical information, not for the additional factual briefs. [sh/mjc]

Fremde im osmanischen Reich 1826–1912/13: bio-biobliographisches Register [Foreigners in the Ottoman Empire 1826–1912/13: Bio-biobliographic Index]. Hans-Jürgen und Jutta Kornrumpf. Stutensee: Kornrumpf, 1998. x, 445 p. 21 cm. (Kornrumpf, A. Dürer-Str. 20, D-76297 Stutensee) [99-B09-219]

This biography includes about 7,000 entries, not only for resident foreigners but also for travelers who spent time in the region between the end of the Greek Revolution and the Balkan War. Mostly only minimal information is given: name (often only the surname), country of origin, occupation or function, with years of stay and location. The principles on which the sources were chosen are not revealed. The readability of the text is reduced by bad printing and a confusing typography. [sh/mjc]

Dictionnaire biographique des savants et grandes figures du monde musulman périphérique, du XIXe siècle à nos jours [Biographical Dictionary of the Scholars and Great Figures of the Peripheral Moslem World]. Ed. Marc Gaborieau for the Programme de Recherche Interdisciplinaires sur le Monde Musulman Périphérique, Groupe de Recherche No. 0122 du CNRS. Paris: EHESS. Free (Centre d’Histoire du Domain Turc, École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, 54, Bd. Raspail, F-75006 Paris, fax [33 1] 49 54 26 72, e-mail: etudes-turques@ehess.fr) [99-B09-221]

Fasc. 1. 1992. 55 p.
[Ed. note: Fasc. 2. 1998]

The purpose, scope, selection criteria, and arrangement of this biographical reference work are clearly laid out in the preface. Published by the “Interdisciplinary Working Group on the Peripheral Islamic Countries,” it is meant as a supplement to the wellknown encyclopedias and biographies of Islam, such as the Encyclopedia of Islam (see the collective review at IFB 95-1-044-050). While these latter works cover the core Islamic countries well (i.e., the Arabic-speaking countries, Turkey, and Iran), research on Islam in other “peripheral” countries is much scantier. Upon completion, this dictionary will contain about 1,000 biographies of religious and secular personalities (with a few who are still living) in India and Pakistan, China, Indonesia, Central Asia, the Caucasus, Eastern Europe, and Africa (except North Africa) from the 19th century to the present. It is arranged by these locations, with an introduction about the state of research, and biographies in alphabetical order. Th e first fascicle, for India and Pakistan, has 76 biographies that range from half a column to three columns in length. Articles by English-speaking contributors are in printed in English. Future fascicles, for which no date is given, will treat other countries and have cumulative indexes. [sh/gh]

Negara Brunei Darussalam: A Biographical Dictionary (1846–1997). A.V.M. Horton. 3d rev. and expanded ed. 2 vols. Bordesley, Worcestershire: Horton, 1998. xxii, 850 p. 21 cm. ISBN 1-900789-15-9: £100 (Horton, 180 Hither Green Lane, Bordesley, Worcestershire B98 9AZ, UK) [99-B09-222]

Following the first edition in 1995 and the second in 1996, this third edition not only brings coverage up to 1998 but also takes the beginning period back to the first half of the 19th century and increases the number of entries to about 10,000. It includes residents of the Islamic monarchy, an independent member of the Commonwealth since 1984, but also many Britons from the period of the protectorate (1888–1983) and persons of other nationalities, such as foreign ambassadors. The biographical entries vary from one line to a whole column and are limited to factual information, for which sources are cited. There is also a detailed introduction about the state, an appendix with lists of offices, a glossary, a chronology, a complete list of abbreviations, and a long bibliography. All this shows the author-publisher to be intimately knowledgeable about Brunei; he also publishes the Brunei Quarterly, which keeps the biographies up to date. For this publication and the Encyclopedia of Negara Brunei Durussalam, on which the author is working, better printing is urgently needed—the present computer printing is a disgrace. [sh/gh]

Chinese Biographical Archive = Chinesisches biographisches Archiv (CBA). Ed. Stephan von Minden. München: Saur, 1997– . ISBN 3-598-33910-0 (diazo fiches): EUR 9,800 [99-B09-223]

China offers particular difficulties—linguistic as well as cultural—in the framework of the Biographical Archive series. For some periods there are very good biographical dictionaries in western languages—such as Sung Biographies, ed. Herbert Franke; Dictionary of Ming Biography, 1368–1644, ed. L. Carrington Goodrich; Eminent Chinese of the Ch’ing Period (1644–1912), ed. Arthur W. Hummel; Biographical Dictionary of Republican China, ed. Howard L. Boorman; Biographic Dictionary of Chinese Communism, ed. Donald B. Klein, and Anne B. Clark; Who’s Who in the People’s Republic of China, ed. Wolfgang Bartke—but not for others so far. Sources such as Mayers’ Chinese Reader’s Manual (1910) and H. A. Giles’ Chinese Biographical Dictionary (1898) are very outdated. The preliminary list of sources for the CBA covers most of the western-language literature, and a few collections of short biographies in Chinese have been added: for example, Zhongguo renming da cidian: Li shi ren wu juan (1990, ISBN: 7532600335) for historic personalities, and Zhongguo ren ming da ci dian: Dang dai ren wu juan (1992, ISBN: 7532602079) for contemporary personalities. For the Chinese sources, the editor, a young Sinologist, has added the Pinyin transliteration of names and a summary of the most important information. (This excellent idea does not always work well in practice, and some mistakes turn up—just one of the problems with which the editor has had to cope.)

With projects of this size it is easy to comment on missing source material. More important is the question of whether the immense Chinese source material, such as biographical chapters in dynastic histories and official and private collections, will have a place in this biographical archive. Apparently these are not to be included. Many of them are in the traditional written language, which is hard for present-day Chinese to read. The new Chinese Biographical Archive is an important and interesting project; it would be even better if it could offer the sources and not just the secondary material. [hw/gh]

Who Was Who in the People’s Republic of China: With More than 3,100 Portraits. Wolfgang Bartke. 2 vols. München: Saur, 1997. ix, 700 p. ill. 30 cm. ISBN 3-598-11311-5: $350 [99-B09-224]

Who’s Who in the People’s Republic of China has been appearing since 1981 and has been published by Saur since the second edition (1987). Like other “Who’s Who” publications, it only includes current figures. Now there is a Who Was Who publication to complement it. This may not be a continuing publication because it is not even certain that Who’s Who in China will be published in a fourth edition (Wolfgang Bartke, the editor, died in 1996). This compilation has been edited by others and continued to May 1997. It contains approximately 3,000 biographies of persons from the three editions of Who’s Who in the People’s Republic of China who are known to have died (with date given), are presumed to have died, or are no longer active or have disappeared from the political scene. The entries include small portraits in some cases and consist of purely chronological accounts of offices and events attended (as reported in the Chinese media). Occasionally personal data and bibliographies are added. Who’s Who in the People’s Republic of China is included in the list of sources for the Chinese Biographical Archive (see RREA 9:280), but this work is inexplicably missing. [sh/gh]

Indian Biographical Archive = Indisches biographisches Archiv. Ed. Laureen Baillie. München: Saur, 1997– . ISBN 3-598-34090-7 (diazo fiches): EUR 9,800 [99-B09-225]

The prospectus for this “archive” adds to the title: India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and promises entries for more than 100,000 persons from 170 reference works. The preliminary list of sources contains 210 titles, mostly from the 19th century and the earlier part of the 20th century, with very few of the newest titles from the 1990s. [sh/gh]

Who’s Who in Korean Literature. Korean Culture & Arts Foundation. Elizabeth, NJ; Seoul: Hollym, 1996. 557 p. 23 cm. ISBN 1-56591-066-0: $35.95 [99-B09-227]

According to the meager introduction, this work is the first of its kind (which is confirmed by a look at Balay’s Guide to Reference Books and at Walford’s Guide to Reference Material), but there is no information about the selection criteria. The articles on 181 Korean writers, on average three pages long, give their names in transliterated form and in Korean, their gender (predominantly male), their literary specialties (e.g., poet, novelist), information about their lives and careers, and a list of their works. In a few cases secondary literature and English translations are also listed. An assessment of each author is also offered. Apparently the work is limited to 20th-century writers, who are mostly still alive. As there are relatively few translations of Korean literature into English and other Western languages, and it is consequently little known, this dictionary may be of limited interest. [sh/gh]

South-East Asian Biographical Archive = Südostasiatisches biographisches Archiv. Ed. Berend Wispelwey. München: Saur, 1997. ISBN 3-598-34210-1 (diazo microfiches): EUR 9,800 [99-B09-228]

The Preliminary List of Sources for this work contains 314 titles, mostly from the postwar period. The countries included are Brunei, Cambodia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar (Burma), Singapore, and Vietnam. Both the colonial and the postcolonial periods are taken into consideration. Because sources in the languages of these countries are included that would not be accessible to speakers who are not familiar with them, about 10,000 entries have been given specially prepared summary translations into English. [sh/gh]


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Last update: March 6, 2006 [BG]
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