Georg August Wallin, Writings

Porträtt av orientalisten och forskningsresenären Georg August Wallin.

During the 1840s the Orientalist G.A. Wallin travelled in the Middle East in order to collect material on Arabic dialects. Wallin was born in Åland and studied Oriental literature in Helsinki and St. Petersburg–Finland was then a Grand Duchy of Russia. Wallin’s teacher in St. Petersburg, Sheikh Mohammad al-Tantawi of Egypt, inspired him to conduct research into spoken Arabic.

For seven years Wallin travelled in Egypt, the Arabian Peninsula, the Sinai Peninsula, Persia and Syro-Palestine to gather material for his research and document the everyday life of the population. His unique material is preserved in diaries and letters, as well as in notes made in Swedish but with Arabic script. In order to make contact with the population he disguised himself as a Muslim under an assumed identity, and was therefore also able to visit Mecca and Medina.

After his travels Wallin was appointed Professor of Oriental Literature in Helsinki. He was viewed as an eminent scholar by his contemporaries, and he published a few articles in English and German. But shortly after his return to Finland he died, and his research material, written in Swedish, remained inaccessible to the international research community.

The publication of the material is a scholary edition. Translations to English and Arabic are being planned.

Published volumes:
  1. Studieåren och resan till Alexandria, 2010 (Student years and journey to Alexandria)
  2. Det första året i Egypten 1843–1844, 2011 (The first year in Egypt 1843–1844)
  3. Kairo och resan till Övre Egypten 1844–1845, 2012 (Cairo and journey to Upper Egypt 1844–1845)
  4. Färderna till Mekka och Jerusalem 1845–1847, 2013 (Journey to Mecca and Jerusalem 1845–1847)
  5. Norra Arabiska halvön och Persien 1847–1849, 2014 (Northern Arabian Peninsula and Persia 1847–1849)
  6. Resan hem via London 1849–1850, 2016 (The journey home via London 1849–1850)
  7. Professorsåren i Helsingfors 1850–1852 (2016)

Volume 8 is underway.

G.A. Wallin, Skrifter 1.  G. A. Wallin, Skrifter 2.  G.A. Wallin, Skrifter 3.

G.A. Wallin, Skrifter 4  G.A. Wallin, Writings 5  G.A. Wallin, Writings 6 G.A. Wallin, Skrifter 7. Professorsåren i Helsingfors 1850–1852

See Also:

Sofia Häggman
”Alldeles hemlikt”. Georg August Wallins Egypten 1843–1845
(“Quite like home”. The Egypt of Georg August Wallin, 1843–1845)

Cairo was Georg August Wallin’s base for his expeditions in the Middle East. With Wallin’s vivid travel diaries as a guide, the Egyptologist Sofia Häggman follows his footsteps from the alleys of Alexandria streets and the caravanserai of Cairo to the villages and ancient monuments of the Egyptian countryside. What did Wallin see there, and what remains of it today?

Dolce far niente in Arabia. Georg August Wallin and his travels in the 1840s
ed. Nina Edgren-Henrichson

Georg August Wallin’s life and travels in Egypt, the Arabian Peninsula and Persia are presented in four articles by Patricia Berg, Sofia Häggman, Jaakko Hämeen-Anttila and Kaj Öhrnberg respectively. Wallin’s impact as an ethnographic observer and linguistic scholar is also examined. Published in English in collaboration with Museum Tusculanum Press.

Alldeles hemlikt (SLS 2011)   Dolce far niente in Arabia (2014)

20 January 2017: Final seminar (in Swedish)