Fifty Years in the East: The Memoirs of Wladimir Ivanow edited with annotations by Farhad Daftary

Amanda Propst


Fifty Years in the East : The Memoirs of Wladimir Ivanow, edited with annotations by Farhad Daftary (London: I.B. Tauris Publishers in association with The Institute of Ismaili Studies, 2015), xvi + 256 pp., ISBN: 978-1-78076-841-0, £25.00

(First paragraph)

Even when considering a sub-discipline that traces its substantive origin to a time as recent as the 20th century, it is easy for the scholar and student – much less the casual reader – to take Ismāʿīlism as an outgrowth of disembodied, medieval manuscripts. With indispensable texts such as Farhad Daftary’s on Ismāʿīlī history and doctrines, the reader is confronted with reliable, well-sourced information; less apparent is the considerable physical, political, and interpersonal effort spent in collecting manuscripts, the contemporary ethnographic significance of investigating a marginalized Shīʿī sect further split into smaller groups, and the role of broader political forces in the focused life of a scholar. Daftary’s introduction to Wladimir Ivanow’s memoirs Fifty Years in the East lays out the seminal role in the development of Ismāʿīlī studies that Ivanow played, but Ivanow’s memoir itself should not be relegated to another title in the Ismāʿīlī bibliography.

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Ilahiyat Studies: A Journal on Islamic and Religious Studies, 2009-2019 eISSN 1309-1719

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