HAREM: The World Behind the Veil


HAREM: The World Behind the Veil

ALEV LYTLE CROUTIER    Book Number: 86578    Product format: Paperback

"I was born in an old house in Izmir, Turkey, which had previously been inhabited by a Pasha who had a harem... People often whispered things about harems; my own grandmother and her sisters had been brought up in one." So begins this history at once personal and scholarly of perhaps the strangest, cruellest and most enduringly fascinating institution any culture has ever developed - the harem. From the Middle Ages to the early 20th century, focussing on the fabled Seraglio of Topkapi Palace as a paradigm for them all. We enter the slave markets and the slavish boudoirs of the sultanas and witness the daily routines of the odalisques, and of the eunuchs who guarded the harem. We also learn of the labyrinthine political scheming among the sultan's wives, his favourites and the Valide Sultana, the sultan's mother, whose power could eclipse that of the sultan himself. There are also 'middle class' harems, households in which ordinary men and women lived out ordinary, albeit polygamous, lives; Croutier reveals their marital customs, child-rearing practices and superstitions. Finally she shows how this Eastern institution invaded the European imagination in the form of decoration, costume and art and how Western ideas in turn finally eroded a system that had seemed eternal. Decorated with Turkish and Persian miniatures, family photos, film stills and Western paintings, a glamorous heavyweight softback, 224pp. 7" x 10".
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Published price: £21.99
Bibliophile price: £8.50


Additional product information

ISBN 9780789212061
Browse these categories as well: History, Erotica, Through the Keyhole

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