Translators, Publishers and Popular Readerships: The Qur'an on the Victorian Bookshelf

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The Qur’an was one of several works of Arabic literature to be popularized in Victorian Britain, circulating in three variant translations during the late 19th Century in a range of published forms—not least the major reprint series, such as Chandos Classics and Everyman’s Library, that did more than any translator or orientalist to make the holy book widely known in Britain and recognized as belonging to the nascent canon of ‘world literature’. In this chapter, I will differentiate between Sale’s, Rodwell’s, and Palmer’s translations, in the degree to which they served or failed to serve the general reader; I will offer data to demonstrate conclusively that the work was widely read by Victorians; and lastly I will reveal some of the evidence I have gathered of individual readers and their response to the Qur’an.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationIslam and Muslims in Victorian Britain
Subtitle of host publicationNew Perspectives
EditorsJamie Gilham
Place of PublicationLondon
ISBN (Print)978-1-350-29963-4
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • Islam
  • Quran
  • Victorian
  • Translation
  • Popular
  • Ecumenicalism

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