TOUMA, Toufic. Paysans et institutions féodales chez les Druses et les Maronites du Liban du XVIIe siècle a 1914. ~i~Beirut, Université Libanaise, 1971-1972.
Two volumes in one (continuously paginated), royal 8vo. Contemporary dark blue morocco-backed sky-covered boards, spine with raised bands and lettered in gilt; pp. 802, five maps on three leaves, pp. 791 to 818 on glossy paper with illustrations; a very good copy of a rare and magisterial work.
First edition of this substantial and magisterial investigation of the difference and conflicts between Druze and Maronite feudalism, land ownership and social structures. Joseph Sokhn wrote on Toufic Touma (online) 'Coming from Wadi Qannoubeen, the Holy Valley surrounded by the twelve villages of the Bsharri-Ehden region, in the nineteenth century the grandparents of Toufiq Touma went up and settled in Hadeth el-Jobbeh. The personal life, character, and work of their grandchild were much affected by the way the family was uprooted, an experience common to all Lebanese.
In 1937 Toufic, still entirely illiterate, gave up laboring in the fields as he had done during the first seventeen years of his existence. Having the good fortune at this late age to get educated at the Jesuits, and being persistent and hard-working, he made up for lost time, obtaining the Lebanese and French end-of-high-school baccalaureates, diplomas of teaching and educational psychology, and university degrees in law, philosophy, and history. In 1954 he obtained the title of Former Graduated Student in social and economic sciences from the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes (Paris Sorbonne) and in 1970 at the University of Paris the French State Doctorate in Letters and Human Sciences with the mention “Très Honorable”.
His monumental work on Lebanese sociology published in two volumes in Beirut, 1972, entitled Peasants and Feudal Institutions among the Druze and Maronites of Lebanon from the 17th century to 1914, placed him in the highest rank of our scientific and literary contemporary authors.
What is most striking about this great contributor to Lebanese thought is that he never forgot his own peasant origins, the nostalgia and burden of which no doubt did much to determine his vocation of sociologist of rural life, as well as his preference for spending his vacations and spare moments intending a vegetable patch in a village high up in the mountains of Kesrouan. The chance visitor might easily find him watering egg-fruit and tomatoes under the strong July sun, with a straw hat on his head and a book in his hand.
From the writings of this son of peasants, a farm worker, university professor, scientific researcher and gifted author, we offer our readers (in translation) some passages where observation of living reality is paralleled by carefully developed literary style'.