On Elven Culture
Books on cultures and about how they work mostly aren't that well known, with most most of them purely informative and not influential at all. Why is "On Elven Culture" by Tash Isharai so different? Because it was the first one of it's kind and sparked an interest in documenting the way of life of cultures and the recording of history. The book might be flawed, but lead to countless other titles and the documentation of history. - The Importance of History, O. Owshei
On Elven Culture was the first real attempt to document the behavior and history of a culture by the modern human civilisation (to clarify: the modern human civilization is the one that includes Meiteikoku and is considered the time period in which the human race was the dominant one).
The book is divided in three large chapters: history, lifestyle and art. Each chapter starts with a general introduction of the subject discussed, with more details on a variety of subjects following these introductions. The history chapter largely talks about the Covenant of Dreams and includes translations of the few elven documents remaining from the time of the covenant. This part of the book is considered largely correct, since it does not make any assumptions and limits itself to actual historical sources: no theories appear, only documented facts. The lifestyle chapter is a bit more controversial. Many elves claim it's completely false, only based on the warped observation of the writer (a human) who is biased against elves in general. Many call this chapter racist and based exclusively on stereotypes. Finally, the art chapter discusses elven artworks and buildings but is basically nothing more than a series of descriptions. No in depth analysis of the art is made.
The initial reaction to the book was positive, it was revolutionary at it's time. Only when more history became documented, criticism of the book increased, with many calling it primitive, biased and shortsighted. Most people agree that the book was valuable and very important, but criticize some of the content of the book.
On Elven Culture sparked an interest in documenting history, cultures and art for in the future, something that was never done before in human history. While other cultures, like the elves, did document these things before the book, humans didn't. Many documents and books filling the libraries of Shiho-fushi and Velamare have only been written because of On Elven Culture and while the book can be criticized for it's contents, it did start an important process: the documentation of history.