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Edward Granville Browne

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Edward Granville Browne, portrait around 1912
Edward Granville Browne, portrait around 1912

Edward Granville Browne FBA (7 February 1862 – 5 January 1926) was a British Iranologist. He published numerous articles and books, mainly in the areas of history and literature.

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Life

Edward Granville Browne
Edward Granville Browne

Browne was born in Stouts Hill, Uley, Gloucestershire, England, the son of civil engineer Benjamin Chapman Browne and his wife, Annie. He was educated at Trinity College, Glenalmond, Burnside's School in Berkshire, Eton College, and the Newcastle College of Physical Science. He then read natural sciences at Pembroke College, Cambridge. He also studied Arabic with Edward Henry Palmer and William Wright, Persian with Edward Byles Cowell, and Turkish with Sir James Redhouse, motivated by an interest in the Turkish people.[1] After graduating in 1882 he travelled to Constantinople.[2][3]

Browne then spent a further two years at University of Cambridge studying the languages of India (defined then as Hindustani, Sanskrit, Persian, and Arabic) and also gained an M.B. in London.[4] In 1887 he was made a Fellow of Pembroke, and then paid an extended visit to Iran. He returned to become a university lecturer in Persian. In April 1902 he was elected Sir Thomas Adams's Professor of Arabic at the University of Cambridge.[2][5] Browne was mainly responsible for the creation at Cambridge of a school of living languages of Asia, in connection with the training of candidates for the Egyptian and Sudanese civil services, and the Lebanese consular service. He was on his sixtieth birthday the recipient of a large Festschrift.[6]

Pirzadeh Naeini, Persian Soufi World Traveler
Pirzadeh Naeini, Persian Soufi World Traveler

Browne was one of the original trustees of the E. J. W. Gibb Memorial, an organisation which since 1905 has published the Gibb Memorial Series.

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Gloucestershire

Gloucestershire

Gloucestershire is a county in South West England. The county comprises part of the Cotswold Hills, part of the flat fertile valley of the River Severn and the entire Forest of Dean.

Glenalmond College

Glenalmond College

Glenalmond College is a co-educational independent boarding school in Perth and Kinross, Scotland, for children aged between 12 and 18 years. It is situated on the River Almond near the village of Methven, about 8 miles (13 km) west of the city of Perth. The college opened in 1847 as Trinity College, Glenalmond and was renamed in 1983. Originally a boys' school, Glenalmond became co-educational in the 1990s.

Berkshire

Berkshire

Berkshire is a historic county in South East England. One of the home counties, Berkshire was recognised by Queen Elizabeth II as the Royal County of Berkshire in 1957 because of the presence of Windsor Castle, and letters patent were issued in 1974. Berkshire is a county of historic origin, a ceremonial county and a non-metropolitan county without a county council. The county town is Reading.

Eton College

Eton College

Eton College is a public school in Eton, Berkshire, England. It was founded in 1440 by Henry VI under the name Kynge's College of Our Ladye of Eton besyde Windesore, making it the 18th-oldest school in the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference (HMC). Originally intended as a sister institution to King's College, Cambridge, Eton is particularly well-known for its history, wealth, and notable alumni.

Pembroke College, Cambridge

Pembroke College, Cambridge

Pembroke College is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge, England. The college is the third-oldest college of the university and has over 700 students and fellows. It is one of the university's larger colleges, with buildings from almost every century since its founding, as well as extensive gardens. Its members are termed "Valencians". The college's current master is Chris Smith, Baron Smith of Finsbury.

Edward Henry Palmer

Edward Henry Palmer

Edward Henry Palmer, known as E. H. Palmer, was an English orientalist and explorer.

Edward Byles Cowell

Edward Byles Cowell

Edward Byles Cowell, was a noted translator of Persian poetry and the first professor of Sanskrit at Cambridge University. Cowell was born in Ipswich, the son of Charles Cowell and Marianne Byles. Elizabeth "Beth" Cowell, the painter, was his sister.

James Redhouse

James Redhouse

Sir James William Redhouse authored the original and authoritative Ottoman - English dictionary. He was commissioned by the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions for his dictionary. His work was later used as the basis for many Turkish - English dictionaries.

Constantinople

Constantinople

Constantinople became the de facto capital of the Roman Empire upon its founding in 330, and became the de jure capital in AD 476 after the fall of Ravenna and the Western Roman Empire. It remained the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire, the Latin Empire (1204–1261), and the Ottoman Empire (1453–1922). Following the Turkish War of Independence, the Turkish capital then moved to Ankara. Officially renamed Istanbul in 1930, the city is today the largest city and financial centre of the Republic of Turkey (1923–present). It is also the largest city in Europe.

Hindustani language

Hindustani language

Hindustani is an Indo-Aryan language spoken in Northern and Central India and Pakistan, and used as a lingua franca in both countries. Hindustani is a pluricentric language with two standard registers, known as Hindi and Urdu. Thus, it is also called Hindi–Urdu. Colloquial registers of the language fall on a spectrum between these standards.

Persian language

Persian language

Persian, also known by its endonym Farsi, is a Western Iranian language belonging to the Iranian branch of the Indo-Iranian subdivision of the Indo-European languages. Persian is a pluricentric language predominantly spoken and used officially within Iran, Afghanistan, and Tajikistan in three mutually intelligible standard varieties, namely Iranian Persian, Dari Persian and Tajiki Persian. It is also spoken natively in the Tajik variety by a significant population within Uzbekistan, as well as within other regions with a Persianate history in the cultural sphere of Greater Iran. It is written officially within Iran and Afghanistan in the Persian alphabet, a derivation of the Arabic script, and within Tajikistan in the Tajik alphabet, a derivation of the Cyrillic script.

Languages of Asia

Languages of Asia

Asia, comprising different language families and some unrelated isolates. The major language families include Austroasiatic, Austronesian, Caucasian, Dravidian, Indo-European, Afroasiatic, Turkic, Sino-Tibetan and Kra–Dai. Most, but not all, have a long history as a written language.

Persian Title of Mazhar-e Ali

In London (1885), Brown met Haji Pirzadeh Naeini, a famous intellectual-mystic and world traveler of the Qajar dynasty period, through whom Browne broadened his interest and knowledge of Persian history, culture, and language. Resulting from their extensive exchanges and depth of personal bond, Browne was gifted, by Pirzadeh Naeini a set of Soufi garb, and received the title of "Mazhar-e Ali" "Manifestation of Ali." (Imam Ali was the first Imam of the Twelve Imams in Shia Islam and son-in-law to the Prophet Muhammad.) Browne wore the garb in his meetings with Persians and used the title in signing all his Persian correspondence and writings.[7]

In return, Brown called Pirzadeh "the guide of the path" and "the repository of the secrets of truth" and "the sage seeker of the path". This relationship led Brown not only to broaden his knowledge and interest in Persia (Iran) but also to ask the British Foreign Office to assign Browne as a consul at the British Embassy to Tehran, which eventually resulted in his publishing, 1893, A Year Amongst The Persians.[8]

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Qajar dynasty

Qajar dynasty

The Qajar dynasty was an Iranian royal dynasty of Turkic origin, specifically from the Qajar tribe, ruling over Iran from 1789 to 1925. The Qajar family took full control of Iran in 1794, deposing Lotf 'Ali Khan, the last Shah of the Zand dynasty, and re-asserted Iranian sovereignty over large parts of the Caucasus. In 1796, Mohammad Khan Qajar seized Mashhad with ease, putting an end to the Afsharid dynasty, and Mohammad Khan was formally crowned as Shah after his punitive campaign against Iran's Georgian subjects. In the Caucasus, the Qajar dynasty permanently lost many of Iran's integral areas to the Russians over the course of the 19th century, comprising modern-day eastern Georgia, Dagestan, Azerbaijan and Armenia.

Shia Islam

Shia Islam

Shīʿa Islam, otherwise known as Shīʿism or as Shīʿite or Shīʿī Islam, is the second-largest branch of Islam. It holds that the Islamic prophet Muhammad designated ʿAlī ibn Abī Ṭālib as his successor (khalīfa) and the Imam after him, most notably at the event of Ghadir Khumm, but was prevented from succeeding Muhammad as the leader of the Muslims as a result of the choice made by some of Muhammad's other companions (ṣaḥāba) at Saqifah. This view primarily contrasts with that of Sunnī Islam, whose adherents believe that Muhammad did not appoint a successor before his death and consider Abū Bakr, who was appointed caliph by a group of senior Muslims at Saqifah, to be the first rightful (rāshidūn) caliph after Muhammad. Adherents of Shīʿa Islam are called Shīʿa Muslims, Shīʿites, or simply Shīʿa, Shia, or Shīʿīs.

Muhammad in Islam

Muhammad in Islam

Muḥammad bin ʿAbd Allāh bin ʿAbd al-Muṭṭalib bin Hāshim is believed to be the seal of the messengers and prophets of God in all the main branches of Islam. Muslims believe that the Quran, the central religious text of Islam, was revealed to Muhammad by God, and that Muhammad was sent to restore Islam, which they believe did not originate with Muhammad but is the true unaltered original monotheistic faith of Adam, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and other prophets. The religious, social, and political tenets that Muhammad established with the Quran became the foundation of Islam and the Muslim world.

Persian language

Persian language

Persian, also known by its endonym Farsi, is a Western Iranian language belonging to the Iranian branch of the Indo-Iranian subdivision of the Indo-European languages. Persian is a pluricentric language predominantly spoken and used officially within Iran, Afghanistan, and Tajikistan in three mutually intelligible standard varieties, namely Iranian Persian, Dari Persian and Tajiki Persian. It is also spoken natively in the Tajik variety by a significant population within Uzbekistan, as well as within other regions with a Persianate history in the cultural sphere of Greater Iran. It is written officially within Iran and Afghanistan in the Persian alphabet, a derivation of the Arabic script, and within Tajikistan in the Tajik alphabet, a derivation of the Cyrillic script.

Tehran

Tehran

Tehran is the capital and largest city of Iran and the largest city in Tehran Province. With a population of around 9 million in the city and around 16 million in the larger metropolitan area of Greater Tehran, Tehran is the most populous city in Iran and Western Asia, and has the second-largest metropolitan area in the Middle East, after Cairo. It is ranked 24th in the world by metropolitan area population.

Family

Browne married Alice Caroline (daughter of Francis Henry Blackburne Daniell) in 1906,[2] and had two sons.[9] The judge Sir Patrick Browne was his son. He died in 1926 in Cambridge.

Works

Browne published in areas which few other Western scholars had explored. Many of his publications are related to Iran, either in the fields of history or Persian literature. He is perhaps best known for his documentation and historical narratives of Bábism as relayed by Arthur de Gobineau. He published two translations of Bábí histories, and wrote several of the few Western accounts of early Bábí and Baháʼí history.

Browne was not a Baháʼí, but rather an Orientalist. His interest in the Bábí movement was piqued by a book by de Gobineau found while he was looking for materials on tasawwuf. The history A Traveller's Narrative was written by `Abdu'l-Bahá and translated by Browne, who added a large introduction and appendices. Browne was fascinated by the development of the written historical perspectives of the Baháʼís regarding successorship after the Báb including their idea of an independent dispensation of Bahá'u'lláh. These Baháʼí-authored works emphasized Bahá'u'lláh to a greater extent than the Báb and took a critical view against Subh-i-Azal, whom Arthur de Gobineau listed as the Báb's successor. Browne expressed sympathy for Subh-i-Azal and surprise at the route the religion had taken.

About the Baháʼí teachings he says:

These teachings are in themselves admirable, though inferior, in my opinion, both in beauty and simplicity to the teachings of Christ.

— Materials for the Study of the Babi Religion, Introduction, p. xxi.

Browne was granted four successive interviews with Bahá'u'lláh during the five days he was a guest at Bahjí (April 15–20, 1890).[10]

In A Year Among the Persians (1893) he wrote a sympathetic portrayal of Persian society. After his death in 1926 it was reprinted and became a classic in English travel literature. He also published the first volume of A Literary History of Persia in 1902 with subsequent volumes in 1906, 1920, and 1924. It remains a standard authority.

Among Iranians, Browne is well remembered today. A street named after him in Tehran, as well as his statue, remained even after the Iranian Revolution in 1979.

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Iran

Iran

Iran, officially the Islamic Republic of Iran and also called Persia, is a country located in Western Asia. It is bordered by Iraq and Turkey to the west, by Azerbaijan and Armenia to the northwest, by the Caspian Sea and Turkmenistan to the north, by Afghanistan and Pakistan to the east, and by the Gulf of Oman and the Persian Gulf to the south. It covers an area of 1.64 million square kilometres, making it the 17th-largest country. Iran has an estimated population of 86.8 million, making it the 17th-most populous country in the world, and the second-largest in the Middle East. Its largest cities, in descending order, are the capital Tehran, Mashhad, Isfahan, Karaj, Shiraz, and Tabriz.

Persian literature

Persian literature

Persian literature comprises oral compositions and written texts in the Persian language and is one of the world's oldest literatures. It spans over two-and-a-half millennia. Its sources have been within Greater Iran including present-day Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, the Caucasus, and Turkey, regions of Central Asia and South Asia where the Persian language has historically been either the native or official language. For example, Rumi, one of the best-loved Persian poets, born in Balkh or Wakhsh, wrote in Persian and lived in Konya, at that time the capital of the Seljuks in Anatolia. The Ghaznavids conquered large territories in Central and South Asia and adopted Persian as their court language. There is thus Persian literature from Iran, Mesopotamia, Azerbaijan, the wider Caucasus, Turkey, Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, Tajikistan and other parts of Central Asia. Not all Persian literature is written in Persian, as some consider works written by ethnic Persians or Iranians in other languages, such as Greek and Arabic, to be included. At the same time, not all literature written in Persian is written by ethnic Persians or Iranians, as Turkic, Caucasian, and Indic poets and writers have also used the Persian language in the environment of Persianate cultures.

Bábism

Bábism

Bábism is a religion founded in 1844 by the Báb, an Iranian merchant turned prophet who taught that there is one incomprehensible God who manifests his will in an unending series of Manifestations of God. It has persisted into the modern era in the form of the Baháʼí Faith, to which the majority of Bábís eventually converted. His ministry was turbulent and short lived, ending with his public execution in Tabriz, and a campaign of extermination that killed thousands of followers in what might be the bloodiest actions of the Iranian military in the 19th century.

Arthur de Gobineau

Arthur de Gobineau

Joseph Arthur de Gobineau was a French aristocrat who is best known for helping to legitimise racism by the use of scientific racist theory and "racial demography", and for developing the theory of the Aryan master race. Known to his contemporaries as a novelist, diplomat and travel writer, he was an elitist who, in the immediate aftermath of the Revolutions of 1848, wrote An Essay on the Inequality of the Human Races. In it he argued aristocrats were superior to commoners, and that aristocrats possessed more Aryan genetic traits because of less interbreeding with inferior races.

Baháʼí Faith

Baháʼí Faith

The Baháʼí Faith is a religion founded in the 19th century that teaches the essential worth of all religions and the unity of all people. Established by Baháʼu'lláh, it initially developed in Iran and parts of the Middle East, where it has faced ongoing persecution since its inception. The religion is estimated to have 5–8 million adherents, known as Baháʼís, spread throughout most of the world's countries and territories.

Oriental studies

Oriental studies

Oriental studies is the academic field that studies Near Eastern and Far Eastern societies and cultures, languages, peoples, history and archaeology. In recent years, the subject has often been turned into the newer terms of Middle Eastern studies and Asian studies. Traditional Oriental studies in Europe is today generally focused on the discipline of Islamic studies, and the study of China, especially traditional China, is often called Sinology. The study of East Asia in general, especially in the United States, is often called East Asian studies.

Sufism

Sufism

Sufism, also known as Tasawwuf, is a mystic body of religious practice, found mainly within Sunni Islam but also within Shia Islam, which is characterized by a focus on Islamic spirituality, ritualism, asceticism and esotericism. It has been variously defined as "Islamic mysticism", "the mystical expression of Islamic faith", "the inward dimension of Islam", "the phenomenon of mysticism within Islam", the "main manifestation and the most important and central crystallization" of mystical practice in Islam, and "the interiorization and intensification of Islamic faith and practice".

Báb

Báb

The Báb was the messianic founder of Bábism, and one of the central figures of the Baháʼí Faith. He was a merchant from Shiraz in Qajar Iran who, in 1844 at the age of 25, claimed to be a messenger of God. He took the title Báb, a reference to the deputy of the Hidden Imam, while instigating a religious revolution that proposed the abrogation of Islamic laws and traditions, and the establishment of a new religion. Though he was popular among the lower classes, he faced opposition from the orthodox clergy and government, which eventually executed him and thousands of his followers, known as Bábís.

Subh-i-Azal

Subh-i-Azal

Ṣubḥ-i-Azal was an Iranian religious leader of Azali Bábism, known for his conflict with his half-brother Baháʼu'lláh over leadership of the Bábí community after 1853.

Tehran

Tehran

Tehran is the capital and largest city of Iran and the largest city in Tehran Province. With a population of around 9 million in the city and around 16 million in the larger metropolitan area of Greater Tehran, Tehran is the most populous city in Iran and Western Asia, and has the second-largest metropolitan area in the Middle East, after Cairo. It is ranked 24th in the world by metropolitan area population.

Iranian Revolution

Iranian Revolution

The Iranian Revolution, or the Islamic Revolution, refers to a series of events that culminated in the overthrow of the Pahlavi dynasty in 1979. It led to the replacement of the Imperial State of Iran by the present-day Islamic Republic of Iran, as the monarchical government of Mohammed Reza Pahlavi was superseded by the theocratic government of Ruhollah Khomeini, a religious cleric who had headed one of the rebel factions. The ouster of Pahlavi, the last Shah of Iran, formally marked the end of Iran's historical monarchy.

Source: "Edward Granville Browne", Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, (2022, December 19th), https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Granville_Browne.

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Bibliography

Works by Browne

Notes
  1. ^ Bosworth, C. Edmund (1995). "E. G. Browne and His "A Year Amongst the Persians"". Iran. 33: 115–122. doi:10.2307/4299929. JSTOR 4299929.
  2. ^ a b c Gurney, John. "Browne, Edward Granville". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/32120. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  3. ^ "Browne, Edward Granville (BRWN879EG)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  4. ^ Buck, Christopher. “Edward Granville Browne.” British Writers, Supplement XXI. Ed. Jay Parini. Farmington Hills, MI: Charles Scribner’s Sons/The Gale Group, 2014. Pp. 17–33.
  5. ^ "University intelligence - Cambridge". The Times. No. 36755. London. 30 April 1902. p. 11.
  6. ^ A Volume of Oriental Studies Presented to Edward G. Browne, M.A., M.B., F.B.A., F.R.C.P., Sir Thomas Adam's Professor of Arabic in the University of Cambridge on the 60th Birthday (7 February 1922), ed. by T. W. Arnold and Reynold A. Nicholson (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1922).
  7. ^ پیرزادهٔ نائینی، محمدعلی، سفرنامه، به کوشش حافظ فرمانفرماییان، ج۲، ص۱ به بعد، تهران، ۱۳۴۲ش
  8. ^ «ادوارد براون تاریخ نگاری ایران دوست»
  9. ^ Edward Granville Browne (1926). A Year Amongst the Persians: Impressions as to the Life, Character, & Thought of the People of Persia, Received During Twelve Months' Residence in that Country in the Years 1887-1888. CUP Archive. p. xviii. GGKEY:8LH412T7XR6.
  10. ^ Buck, Christopher (1995). Symbol and Secret: Qur'an Commentary in Bahá'u'lláh's Kitáb-i Íqán. Kalimát Press. pp. XLI. ISBN 978-0-933770-78-2.
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