Private publishing in the nahda

Ami Ayalon*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Khalil Sarkis (1842-1915) was an eminent figure in late Ottoman Beirut and an important contributor to the nahda , the Arab literary-cultural "awakening" that began in the latter part of the 19th century. Less known to Western scholarship than Butrus al-Bustani, Faris al-Shidyaq, or Jurji Zaydan, he is not usually regarded as a pillar of that awakening. He may not have been, but he certainly was an indispensable brick in its edifice. Born in 1842, when the most exciting changes were still in the future, Sarkis spent all his life in the service of his country's cultural betterment. He is mostly remembered for his newspaper, Lisan al-Hal, which was launched in 1877 and for many decades was one of the most credible Arabic organs. More than a journalist, however, Sarkis was a pioneering printer, a prolific publisher, and the author of nine books. In the last quarter of the 19th century he built one of Beirut's largest printing businesses, which turned out several journals, hundreds of books, and numerous publications. In the 19th-century Middle East, being a printer often meant being a publisher; Khalil Sarkis was both on a grand scale.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)561-577
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Journal of Middle East Studies
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2008


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