The business of publishing in the Early Beirut Nahḍa


Edwards, Anthony

Date of creation
2023 Gregorian
Preferred title
The business of publishing in the Early Beirut Nahḍa English
Work type
Single work
Work manifested
Work genre
Textual work

Adult, serious


This article examines the business and economics of publishing in the early Beirut Nahḍa. First, the practice of patronage to bring original works to print shows how money facilitated cultural production in the 1850s. Next, a case study of Khalīl al-Khūrī’s (1836–1907) newspaper and press, Ḥadīqat al-Akhbār (“News Garden”, established 1858) and al-Maṭbaʿa al-Sūriyya (“the Syrian Press”, established 1857), reveals the operational challenges and financial difficulties of being a cultural entrepreneur and printing pioneer. Lastly, a comprehensive study of al-ʿUmda al-Adabiyya li-Ishhār al-Kutub al-ʿArabiyya (“the Literary Committee for Publishing Arabic Books”, 1860–67), a partnership for which al-Khūrī was the project runner and printer, illustrates the role of crowdfunding and the importance of cooperation among the Beirut middle class. This article presents a realistic account of being “in the business” of publishing in the Arabic literary revival.