Fall Issue 2022
Renaissance Emir by Ted Gorton, Quartet Books
The year is 1613: the Ottoman Empire is at its
height, sprawling from Hungary to Iraq, Morocco
to Yemen. One man dares to challenge it: the
Prince of the mysterious Druze sect in Mount
Lebanon, Fakhr ad-Din. Yielding before a mighty
army sent to conquer him, he – astonishingly –
takes refuge with the Medici in Florence at the
height of the Renaissance.
During his five-year stay in Italy, he fights to
persuade Popes, Grand-Dukes and Viceroys to
support a grand plan: a new Crusade to wrest the
Holy Land from the Ottomans, giving Jerusalem
back to Christendom and himself a crown.
This groundbreaking biography of Fakhr ad-Din,
Prince of the Druze, is based on the author’s vivid
new translations of contemporary sources in
Arabic and other languages. It brings to life one
remarkable man’s beliefs and ambitions, uniquely
illuminating the elusive interface between Eastern
and Western culture.
‘Renaissance Emir reads like a
gripping, enjoyable and vivid novel.
A must for anyone who looks at the
history of Lebanon in order to
understand the present’
T.J. (Ted) Gorton came early to Oriental studies, spending formative years in Turkey where his father was the US military attche, and studying at the American University or Beirut in the 1960's. He later took a doctorate in Arabic Studies from Oxford and lectured at St.Andrews University, from where he was lured away to Arabia, spending 25 years in the oil business before returning to his first love, Arabic poetry. He has published extensively on Hispano-Arabic poetry in scholarly journals as well as preparing two collections, Andalucia and Arabia, for Eland's Poetry of Place series.
Ted says the book he co-authored with his wife Andree Feghali Gorton, Lebanon: through writers' eyes, was a special labor of love. He came to Beirut for the first time in 1967, just after the 6-Day War, and fell in love with the beauty of the country and the rich history that left so many fascinating monuments and cultural legacies.
Ted's latest book is Renaissance Emir: a Druze Warlord at the Court of the Medici, a biography of the mysterious Levantine prince Fakhr ad-Din Ma'n. This was published by Quartet Books of London in May 2013; you can read more about it on Ted's website, http://tjgorton.wordpress.com/.