The first print publication of the Svoboda Diaries Project via Newbook Digital Texts, a digital primary sources publication project housed at the University of Washington is now available for purchase. On the 15th of April, 1897, a 19 year-old European resident of Baghdad, named Alexander Richard Svoboda, set out on a long journey to Europe by caravan, boat and train. From a large and influential family of merchants, artists, and explorers settled in Ottoman Iraq since the end of the 18th century, Alexander traveled in the company of his parents and the departing British Resident in Baghdad accompanied by his retinue. They followed a circuitous route through the Middle East to Damascus, Beirut, Cairo and thence to Europe on a three and a half month journey which Alexander described day-by-day in a journal written in the Iraqi Christian Colloquial Arabic of his time.
The book is bilingual with both an Arabic transcription of the original text (available on the Svoboda Diaries Project website) and a translation by Nowf Allawi, edited and introduced by Professor Walter G. Andrews of the University of Washington. It is available in print-on-demand from the University of Washington Bookstore ($13 + shipping) and the American Book Center in Amsterdam (19 €). This inaugural publication will be followed by a more ambitious project of publishing 46 diaries kept by Alexander Richard’s father from 1860 until 1908.