The Marsh Arab Haji Rikkan

FULANAIN, pseudonym of Stuart Edwin and his wife Monica Grace HEDGECOCK. The Marsh Arab Haji Rikkan.

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FULANAIN, pseudonym of Stuart Edwin and his wife Monica Grace HEDGECOCK. The Marsh Arab Haji Rikkan. London, Chatto & Windus, 1927.

8vo. Publisher's original cloth, lettered in black to spine, in original not price-clipped illustrated dust-wrapper; pp. xiii, 288, plates after photographs, map, printed in black and blue at rear; dust-wrapper with light chipping and spotting, very light spotting internally; a very good copy.
Scarce first edition. An account of the life of a Marsh Arab from the region north of Basra compiled anonymously by the civil servant C.E. Hedgecock and his wife. The book was to have had a foreword by Gertrude Bell, the appearance of which was precluded by Bell's death. 'A wonderfully vivid book about the people he administered called Haji Rikkan: Marsh Arab, using (because officials are not purposed to write books when they are on the job) the pseudonym Fulanain' (Gavin Young, Return to the Marshes, p. 69). After Pietro Dell Valle (17th century) and George Keppel (19th century) this is the third Western text to deal with the region and the inhabitants, at the same time the first monograph. 'During the last year I had read what I could about the Madan. It was little enough. The only book seemed to be Haji Rikkan: Marsh Arab [sic] by Fulananain …, a sympathetic description of a Marshman's life at the end of the First World War … Certainly the Madan had a bad name with Arabs and Englishmen alike' (Wilfred Thesiger, The Marsh Arabs, p. 49). The work deals mainly with two tribes, the Albu Mohammad and the Bani Lam.

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