KHARTOUM (Sudanow) - The Beirut (Lebanon)-based Scientific Books publishing house has recently launched four heritage manuscripts, developmentally edited by Sudanese writer Altijani Saeed.
Developmental editing is a form of writing support that comes into play before or during the production of a publishable manuscript, especially in the area of non-fiction writing. Usually the developmental editor employs his expertise, knowledge and style to prepare the manuscript (or book) for reading.
Saeed’s first book is entitled: Matal’e Albiddor Fi Manazil Alsuroor (lunar rises in phases of delight ) , by Aladdin Ali Ibn Abdallah Alghizoli Aldimashqi (16th century, during the Mamluki era). The book tackles house building with respect to architecture and functions.
The other book is an interpretation of Arabian Writer Ibn Badroon of Arab Poet Ibn Abdoon’s poem entitled Albassama (The smiler), written during the Andalusian era. It is a historical poem depicting the calamities that inflicted former Muslim states and dynasties.
The third book is entitled: Alsadih Albaghim (the silent chanter). It is a rare book about wisdom, written by Alshareef Ibn Alhabariyya (13th Century).
The fourth book: Estidrakat Ibn Alkashshab Ala Maqamat Alhareeri (Ibn Alkhashshab’s amendments to the Hareeri Maqamat). Maqamat Alhareeri is a collection of rhymed 50 short stories. Alhareeri had lived and written during the Abbasid Muslim rule (1262 - 1517).
Saeed (licensed in philosophy) is one of the pioneers of developmental editing in Sudan. He was not preceded in this art save by a few, including Professor Yousif Fadl who edited the famous book Tabaqat Wad Daifallah, written by Mohammad Daifallah about the history of saints and scholars in the Sudan.
By these books Saeed has opened doors for developmental writers interested in the Sudanese cultural heritage to add more to this type of knowledge.
Manuscript developmental editing is an independent knowledge with its own instruments and techniques. Modern technology has helped a good deal in the production and publication of many manuscripts by cultural centers and university libraries.
Islamic culture has disseminated around the world over the centuries. As a result of that culture the world had come to know sciences and arts unknown before.
The manuscript was a basic source of these sciences and arts.
By the inception of the printing press, the Arab books tended to be published and distributed on a wider scale. European publishing and printing houses have disseminated a lot of this heritage.
Then Muslim scientists and developmental editors took over from the Europeans and satisfactorily published thousands of old books that had been caged in safes, public and private libraries for centuries. That is what Saeed is after.
Asked by Sudanow about why Sudanese manuscripts are not edited and published, Saeed said Sudan had really had lots of old books and manuscripts which were, unfortunately, lost during the Mahdist Revolution (1880-1900).
University Professor Abdallah Hamadnallah told Sudanow that developmental editing of manuscripts is not a call back for the cultural heritage but, rather, an interaction with that heritage.” Generally, the world cultures are concerned about developmental editing because of its vital importance for discovering the present in the light of the past. “The renaissance of the Arab World had started with the editing and publication of cultural books. Arab culture is still having its role in the drive for renaissance and enlightenment, but unfortunately, we in the Sudan did not care to publish our manuscripts” said Prof. Hamadnallah.
“I am afraid to say that we don’t have enough knowledge about developmental editing. A close eye would reveal that we have no other developmentally edited manuscripts other than Tabaqat Wad Daifalla and the copy edited by Alshatir Busaili of Katib Alshoona and a few other books,” he said.
He said this scarce developmental editing may have led to the notion that Sudan does not have enough manuscripts of value. “This can be refuted by a careful visit to the Central Records House. Just for instance, Poet Mohammad Ahmed Ali had come there across the manuscript of the Mahdist poets while compiling his M.A thesis in the 1960s. Ali had done a limited, but important, effort on that manuscript. Ever since, nobody had cared to edit that manuscript.
Said Prof. Hamadnallah: Saeed had exerted a commendable effort in editing manuscripts from the Arab and Muslim heritage. He is qualified to do such a job. I consider his recent books a breakthrough for the Sudanese library and the Sudanese and Arabic culture. They help connect our nation’s past with its present, he said.
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