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Immersing himself in Egyptian culture, Lane learned the Arabic language and adopted the Arab way of life. Written before the forces of innovation transformed Egypt, Manners and Customs is recognized for its wide-ranging scope of detail of daily life on topics such as the nature of Islamic laws and its relation to government, birth and marriage customs, death and funeral rites, music and dancing, and the world of magic and alchemy. This distinctive work retains its power to charm and fascinate contemporary readers.
Edward William Lane (1801-1875) was a distinguished English scholar of the Arab world who made voyages up the Nile in 1826 and 1827. Fascinated by Egyptian lives and customs, he traveled to Egypt frequently and lived in Cairo from 1833 to 1835, where he studied and adopted Egyptian dress. The author of several other works, Lane is best known for his translation of Arabian Nights (1832-41).