The Islamic Enlightenment: The Struggle Between Faith and Reason, 1798 to Modern Times

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Product Details

Liveright Publishing Corporation
Publish Date
April 04, 2017
6.5 X 1.5 X 9.3 inches | 1.7 pounds
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About the Author

Christopher de Bellaigue has worked as a journalist in south Asia and the Middle East, writing for the Economist, the Guardian, and the New York Review of Books. He is the award-winning author of four books, has made several BBC television and radio documentaries, and has been a visiting fellow at the universities of Harvard and Oxford. He lives in London.


A highly original and informative survey of the clashes between Islam and modernity in Istanbul, Cairo, and Tehran in the last two hundred years. Brilliant!--Orhan Pamuk, author of My Name Is Red
A brilliantly learned and entertaining study of a topic that is of far more than merely antiquarian interest: the encounter between the Islamic world and the post-Enlightenment West.--Tom Holland, author of In the Shadow of the Sword
Timely, thoughtful, and provocative.--Peter Frankopan, author of The Silk Roads
That there has been an Islamic Enlightenment at all will come as news to many. De Bellaigue's account of the 'very broad church' of Islam in the modern world is splendid and timely.--Anthony Gottlieb, author of The Dream of Enlightenment
In this expansive historical account and commentary, de Bellaigue recounts Islam's ''painful encounter with modernity'' through the history of Turkey, Egypt, and Iran. . . . This is a text that demands attention for its splendid prose, command of an entire treasury of history, and ability to undermine the misplaced patronization of Middle Eastern Muslim nations over the last 300 years.
Excellent...Mr. de Bellaigue, the finest Orientalist of his generation, does the world a great service by charting the attainments of the region's long 19th century....Focusing on Iran, Turkey and Egypt, 'the three intellectual and political centres of the Middle East, ' Mr. de Bellaigue tells a story that is at once new, fascinating and extraordinarily important.--Bartle Bull
A stylishly written, surprisingly moving chronicle of intellectual and political flourishing in Egypt, Turkey, and Iran -- 'the brain of Islam' -- in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
Deeply researched . . . . Beginning with Napoleon's invasion of Egypt in 1798 and ending with the late 20th century, De Bellaigue shows how the cultural struggles between modernity and tradition unfolded in Istanbul, Cairo, and Tehran. . . .De Bellaigue is a knowledgeable guide through huge sweeps of cultural history--Nick Romeo
An eye-opening, well-written and very timely book, which can help us understand better the complex relationship between the Muslim world and modernity. While both Islamic extremists and Western bigots find it convenient to stress the incompatibility of Islam and modernity, Christopher de Bellaigue shows that Islam is whatever Muslims make of it, and that at least some Muslims have made of it something very modern.--Yuval Harari, author of Homo Deus
Elegantly written...'The Islamic Enlightenment' introduces us to a fascinating gallery of individuals who would grapple with reform and modernization in theory and practice...In tracking the sinews of enlightenment through the last two centuries of Islamic thinking, this brilliant and lively history deserves nothing but praise.
The book reads at times like a thriller--it is a tale of reform and reaction, innovation and betrayal, a struggle, as the author would put it, between faith and reason. . . . With such divisive views elevated to state policy, a book that examines the Islamic world's liberalization process--at least until the French and the English carved up the Middle East after 1918--is welcome.--Francis Ghilès