Ted Gorton was born in Texas in 1947, and educated in at the American University of Beirut, universities of Paris and Oklahoma, and finally St John’s College, Oxford, where he took a doctorate in Arabic Studies. He taught Arabic at St Andrews University in Scotland and was an adjunct professor at Beirut College for Women (as it was then), the Georgetown University and elsewhere, besides spending 25 years in the oil business. He and his Lebanese archaeologist wife Andree Feghali Gorton have four children and live in London and Gascony.
Ted has published numerous articles in scholarly journals, mostly about Hispano-Arabic poetry, and two volumes of Arabic poetry in translation. His most recent book (together with his wife Andree) is a reasoned anthology, Lebanon: through writers’ eyes (Eland Books, 2009).
He has just completed a new project, a biography of Fakhr ad-Din Ma’n (d. 1635), an enigmatic prince of the Druze in Mount Lebanon. The Emir fell out with his Ottoman overlords, fleeing to Italy where he spent five years, initially at the Renaissance court of the Medici in Florence. He returned to the Levant, building elegant palaces in the style of the Italian Renaissance, and extended his domains to such an extent that the Ottomans sent an army after him. Fakhr ad-Din was captured and executed in Istanbul along with one or two of his sons, but his name lives on in Lebanon where he is revered (by some) as “father of the Nation”.