Collection: "The Memoirs of Aga Khan" – 1st Editions in Seven Languages

A Unique Opportunity to Acquire “The Memoirs of Aga Khan” – 1st Editions in Seven Languages

“I can only say to everyone who reads this book of mine that it is my profound conviction that man must never ignore and leave untended and undeveloped that spark of the Divine which is in him.”

The autobiography of the 48th Ismaili Imam, Sultan Muhammad Shah, Aga Khan III, was first published in London in 1954 under the title, The Memoirs of Aga Khan: World Enough and Time.

In the Prologue to his autobiography, Aga Khan III writes that  he had been “urged by editors and publishers to write my memoirs, my own account of my life and experiences, of my beliefs and opinions, and the way in which they have been moulded.” Further on, the 48th Imam states that while he has tried to do his best in all the years he has spent in public life, “final judgement lies elsewhere.” And in the last paragraph of the Prologue, the Imam provides a succinct perspective on his writing his memoirs:

“….since I have witnessed this rapid and all-enveloping process of change in every domain of human interest and experience – the technical and mechanical revolution of our time, man’s developing mastery of natural forces, the recognition of the importance of the subconscious, the vast increase in longevity, the rise of new moral standards and the corresponding profound changes in outlook, and great political changes undreamed of in my youth – I hope in these coming chapters to give some picture of each epoch as it unfolded before the eyes and in the mind and heart of one who was usually an onlooker but sometimes and actively a participant.”

The Aga Khan pictured with his son, Prince Sadruddin, and grandsons Prince Karim (left) and Prince Amyn

The Aga Khan pictured with his son, Prince Sadruddin, and grandsons Prince Karim (left) and Prince Amyn. This photo appears in various editions of the Memoirs

The Memoirs was originally published in English (the British and American editions being published in 1954), and while these English versions were circulated widely in the English-speaking world, a remarkable fact is that the 48th Imam’s autobiography was translated into several languages, both eastern and western. Besides translations into Gujarati, Sindhi and Urdu, The Memoirs of Aga Khan was translated into six European languages, all of which were published during 1954 and 1955. An interesting feature is that many of the illustrations in these translations are different to those that appear in the English editions.

Portraits of the Aga Khan in the German Edition.

Following our recent series of articles on Aga Khan III, Simerg is delighted to offer a rare complete set of the translations that were published in western languages as part of its Collection series. The set comprises eight volumes – the English editions published in the United Kingdom and the United States, and translations into French, German, Italian, Spanish, Norwegian and Finnish – all of which are first editions. The bibliographical details of these eight volumes are as follows:

1. Memoirs. UK English edition – The Memoirs of Aga Khan: World Enough and Time.- Foreword by W. Somerset Maugham.- London, 1954.- xviii, 350 pages, colour frontispiece, illustrations.- Hardback, dust wrapper.

2. Memoirs. USA English edition – The Memoirs of Aga Khan: World Enough and Time.- Preface by W. Somerset Maugham.- New York, 1954.- xiv, 367 pages, illustrations.- Hardback, dust wrapper.

3. Memoirs. French translation – Memoires.- Translated by Jane Fillion; with an additional preface by Jean Cocteau.- Paris, 1955.- xv, 422 pages, illustrations.- Paperback.

A portrait of the Aga Khan and Begum Aga Khan in the French Edition.

4. Memoirs. German translation – Die Memoiren des Aga Khan: Welten und Zeiten.- Translated by Hans B. Wagenseil.- Munich, 1954.- 448 pages, illustrations.- Hardback, dust wrapper.

5. Memoirs. Italian translation – Le Memorie dell’ Aga Khan.- Translated by Sergio Uglioni.- Milan, 1954.- xi, 354 pages, frontispiece, illustrations.- Hardback, dust wrapper.

6. Memoirs. Spanish translation – Memorias de S. A. El Aga Khan.- Translated by J. Romero de Tejada.- Barcelona, 1954.- 372 pages, illustrations.- Hardback, dust wrapper.

The Aga Khan as a young boy in the Spanish Edition

7. Memoirs. Norwegian translation – Erindringer.- Translated by Karin Holst Hemsen and Anne-Margrethe Omsted.- Oslo, 1955.- 294 pages, illustrations, maps.- Hardback, dust wrapper.

A photo, in the Norwegian edition, of the Aga Khan and the Begum in Mashad, Iran.

8. Memoirs. Finnish translation – Memoarer.- Translated by Knut Stubbendorff.- Helsinki, 1955.- 319 pages, colour frontispiece, illustrations.- Hardback.


The price of this set is US$1,200 + shipping + GST (in Canada). For overseas order, customs duties may be applied at delivery time. This would be the purchaser’s responsibility. Please send an email to for exact pricing to your destination and for details on how to reserve this set.

If you are interested in purchasing only the English edition of the Memoirs, please  write to us.  Price North America wide will vary, US$85-100,  depending on quality – includes postage. GST (5%) will be added  for Canadian residents.

Payments via Paypal,  email or checks will be accepted. Simerg and simergbooks are Paypal verified.


We are confident that this rare set of first editions will add distinction and prestige to your library.



Collection: “The Aga Khan’s Horses” – 1938 Limited Edition, Number 81, Signed by the Aga Khan

Some of the recently published articles in the Aga Khan III Series (include unique images, photos and links to preview movies):

Literary Reading: Hazrat Imam Sultan Muhammad Shah, Aga Khan III: The Face of Imamat

Literary Reading: Hazrat Imam Sultan Muhammad Shah, Aga Khan III – Long Reign Ends

Literary Reading: Sir Sultan Muhammad Shah, Aga Khan III – 48th Ismaili Imam’s Platinum Jubilee: World Evolved from Candle Lights and Horse Carriages to Nuclear Physics and Jet Travel

Literary Reading: Sir Sultan Muhammad Shah, Aga Khan III – The Diamond Jubilee: “An Incomparable Occasion in the World”

Sir Sultan Muhammad Shah, Aga Khan III: Lakhpaty’s Intriguing Poster for 48th Ismaili Imam’s Diamond Jubilee Shows Artistic Ingenuity



7 thoughts on “Collection: "The Memoirs of Aga Khan" – 1st Editions in Seven Languages

  1. I have inherited this copy from my sibling who bought it as soon as it was published with an Introduction by the author W Somerset Maugham. My favourite chapter which I read over and over again is the one in which we were explained that Religion and Science are not opposite or in conflict with each other but we should see these in the light of Allah’s divine gift to human beings. Forgive me, I am not fetching my copy to write out the exact wording!

  2. Malik: I have the Gujarati translation and the English version. The website has great stuff as usual. A happy and a productive New Year to you, family and your readers.


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