Edward William Lane fut un traducteur et un lexicographe anglais. Il est célèbre pour son lexique inachevé anglais arabe. Il vécut à Alexandrie puis au Caire. Il y resta deux ans et demi parmi la population tout en apprenant la langue arabe. Il est retourné en Angleterre avec des notes volumineuses. Le résultat fut un ouvrage qui connut un grand succès intitulé "Manners and Customs of the Modern Egyptians" (moeurs et coutumes de la nouvelle Egypte) en 1836. En 1840, il publia une traduction des Mille et Une Nuits. En 1842, il se consacra à un projet monumental de dictionnaire arabe-anglais. Inachevé, le "Lexicon" s’arrête à la lettre Qaf. En 1843, il publia une traduction partielle du Coran.
Préface (p. V-VIII)
There are several translations of the Kur’an in several
languages ; but there are very few people who have the
strength of mind to read any of them through. The
chaotic arrangement and frequent repetitions, and the
obscurity of the Language, are sufficient to deter the most
persistent reader, whilst the nature of a part of its contents
renders the Kur’an unfit for a woman’s eye.
Yet there alwavs has been a wish to know something
about the sacred book of the Mohammadans and it was
with the design of satisfying this wish, whilst avoiding
the weariness and the disgust which a complete perusal
of the Kuran must produce, that Mr. Lane arranged the
Selections " which were published in 1843. In spite of
many printer’s errors, due to the author’s absence from
England, the book was so far successful that the edition
was exhausted, and it is now very difficult to obtain
a copv. But partly owing to the obstructions to the
reading offered by an interwoven native commentary,
and partly by reason of the preference shown for the
doctrinal over the poetical passages, the book went
into scholars’ hands rather than into the libraries of the general reading public. Ifc has proved of considerable service to students of Arabic, who have found
it the most accurate rendoring in existence of a large part
of the Kur’an; and even native Muslims of India, ignorant
of Arabic, have used Lane’s ’ Selections’ as their Bible.
In this edition I have endeavoured rather to cariy out
the original intention of the translator. Ikperience has
shown that the first plan was over-learned to conimcud
itself to the average reath^r, for whom Mr. Lane had
destined the book; in this edition I have therefore
omitted many of the notes, which will not be missed
by the reader for whom the book is intended, and for
which the Arabic scholar has only to refer to the lirst
edition, or to Sale’s Koran, whence most of them were
derived. Again, the text of the first edition waH (jbscured
and interrupted by an interwoven commentary, which
destroyed the pleasure of the language and often made the
meaning less intelligible than before. This commentary
has been thinned. Where it added nothing to the text, it
has been erased; where it gave a curious or valuable c!x-
planation, it has been thrown into a footnote ; where it
merely supplied a necessary word to complete the sense,
that word has been left in the text distinguished by a dif-
ferent type.i Once more, the early and wilder soorahs
were almost wholly omitted in the first edition, whilst
the later more dogmatic and less ])outical soorahs were
perhaps too fully represented. I have endeavoured to
establish the balance between the two.
In this edition the Selections are divided into two parts.
The first is Islam ; the second, other religions as regarded
in Islam. In the first are grouped, under distinctive
headings, the more important utterances of Mohammad on
vrhat his followers must believe and do ; in the second are
his versions of the history of the patriarchs and other per-
sonages of the Jewish and Christian writings.
It is only in the First Part that I have made much alter-
ation, either by adding fresh extracts (distinguished by a
sign), or by making a few merely verbal alterations in the
original extracts, or by the suppression or transposition of
the commentary. Any alterations that go beyond this —
new renderings, for instance — are duly recorded in the
The Second Part is almost unchanged from the first
edition. In this part the interwoven commentary is left
entire, for the traditions of the commentators about Abra-
ham and Moses and Christ are as curious as the traditions
of Mohammad, and about as credible ; and the narrative
style of the Second Part allows the introduction of paren-
theses more easily than the rhetorical form which many
of the extracts in the First Part present.
Mr. Lane’s Introduction was abridged from Sale’s Pre-
liminary Discourse, with but little addition from his own
knowledge. Sale’s Discourse abounds in information, but
it is too detailed and lengthy for the purpose of this
volume. I have, then, substituted a short sketch of the
beginnings of Islam. I have tried to bring home to the
reader the little we know of the early Arabs ; then to draw
the picture of the great Arab prophet and his work ; to show what are the salient points of Islam ; and finally
to explain something of the history of the !Kur-an and its
contents. I am conscious of having drawn the picture
with a weak hand, but I hope the sketch may serve as a
not quite useless introduction to a volume of typical selec-
tions from a book which, in the peculiar character of its
contents and the extraordinary power of its influence, has
not its parallel in the world.
S. L. P.
Table des matières (p. IX-X)
I. THE ARABS BEFORE MOHAMMAD .
IV. THE KUR’AN
PART THE FIRST.
I. THE OPENING PRAYER
IV. MOHAMMAD AND THE KUR’AN
V. THE RESURRECTION, PARADISE, AND HELL
VII. ANGELS AND JINN
VIII. TRUE RELIGION AND FALSE
IX. BELIEVERS AND UNBELIEVERS
PART THE SECOND.
I. PROPHETS, APOSTLES, AND DIVINE BOOKS
II. ADAM AND EVE
III. ABEL AND CAIN
IV. NOAH AND THE FLOOD
V. ’AD AND THAMOOD
VII. ABRAHAM, ISHMABL, ISAAC
VIII. JACOB, JOSEPH AND HIS BRETHREN
XI. MOSES AND HIS PEOPLE
XII. SAUL, DAVID, SOLOMON
XV. THE MESSIAH
LANE (Edward William), Selections from the Ḳurán, commonly called, in England, the Koran, with an interwoven commentary, translated from the arabic ... and illustrated by notes ... by E.W. Lane, London, 1843, nc.