Et tout le reste est littérature, or: Abraham Firkowicz, the Writer with a Chisel

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Abraham Firkowicz (1787-1874) was a Karaite educator, communal leader, autobiographer, traveller, translator and political lobbyist, a man remembered best as the person who assembled the three greatest collections of Jewish books and manuscripts in the world. All of them are named after him: the First Firkowicz Collection, the Samaritan Firkowicz Collection (these two were bought by the Russian Imperial Library while the collector was still alive), and the Second Firkowicz Collection (bought by the Russian Imperial Library after his death). He is also remembered for the book he wrote about Jewish tombstone inscriptions from the Crimea. In fact, he was accused of forging the texts he obtained from the tombstone inscriptions and the manuscripts he had collected. This essay is an inquiry into the epoch in which Firkowicz lived. It provides parallels to contemporary activities undertaken by possible forgers such as Sulukadzev, Moses Shapira, and Dom Pedro II of Brazil and his circle, and claims that most of all, Firkowicz was ‘a writer with a chisel’.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationFakes and Forgeries of Written Artefacts from Ancient Mesopotamia to Modern China
Subtitle of host publicationVolume 20
Publisherde Gruyter
Number of pages22
ISBN (Electronic)9783110714333
ISBN (Print)9783110714227
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Cécile Michel, Michael Friedrich, published by Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston Printing and binding: CPI books GmbH, Leck.


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