Composed during the 19th century in Istanbul, the heart of the Ottoman Empire, this is one of Sami Frashëri’s most notable works. By turns witty and profound, worldly and spiritual, The Album of Aphorisms gives the reader a glimpse into the multitude of cultural layers found throughout the Muslim world at the time. This first-ever English translation includes an introduction, preface, and three detailed appendices, and author portraits. Most of these aphorisms first appeared in Ottoman Turkish since they were published in various Ottoman, and later Turkish, newspapers. However, a great number of them were also written in Albanian, and many others were later translated from Turkish into Albanian as well as many other languages. This humble collection includes aphorisms from all of those pools. Sami Frashëri was born in 1850 into a distinguished Muslim family in Albania. He attended a Greek language school in Janina, and it was there that he became proficient in French, Italian and Greek, and later learned Arabic, Persian and Turkish, in addition to his native Albanian. After moving to Istanbul, Frashëri worked for several Ottoman newspapers, and also published over fifty of his own books in a number of languages. Frashëri was a polymath in every sense of the word. He died in 1904.
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Praise of The Album of Aphorisms
“Exceptional and unique … simply a work of art.” — Burhan Al-Din Fili, author of Burrnia Foli
“Vehapi’s translations of Sami’s aphorisms are refreshing and touching. Sami’s voice is a necessary addition to our Western mindset and his wisdom around women, education, and government are progressive and relevant to the current landscape. Vehapi handles the translation with grace and clarity. There is so much beauty in this book!” — Christie King, educator and author of the forthcoming novel, Collide
“Yet another wonderful translation of some very interesting and practical sayings from a unique Albanian Ottoman author.” — Brandon Mayfield, co-author of Improbable Cause
“Beautifully written … an impressively splendid work.” — Salma Ahmad, President of ISGP, Portland, OR