Description - Harem by Alev Lytle Croutier
This book offers an insight into the harem and harem life, focusing on the famed Seraglio of Topkapi Palace. The author uses her first-hand experience to describe the absolute rule of the sultans, the slave markets and the eunuchs. The book is illustrated with paintings by Delacroix, Ingres and Renoir, Turkish woodcuts, Persian miniatures, photographs and film stills. Croutier investigates the middle class harems, looking at the polygamous life of ordinary Middle Eastern households, including marital customs, child rearing, medical practices, superstitions and the expression of desire and jealousy. "Harem" shows how this Eastern institution invaded the Victorian imagination, in the form of decorating, costume and art and how Western ideas, in turn, eroded a system which had seemed to be absolutely powerful.
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(257mm x 177mm x 20mm)
Abbeville Press Inc.,U.S.
Publisher: Abbeville Press Inc.,U.S.
Country of Publication:
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Book Reviews - Harem by Alev Lytle Croutier
UK Kirkus Review »
'The chief Black Eunuch was the third most powerful man in the vast Ottoman Empire, after the sultan and the grand vizier. The woman of the harem could also exercise great power, especially the sultan's greatly respected mother, the sultana. The sultans themselves were often too lazy to rule.' Alev Lytle Croutier's grandmother and great-aunt were brought up in a harem, living there till harems were abolished in 1909, and in her childhood she was initiated into the skills of casting spells, giving the evil eye, and other rituals, while being waited on by slaves and odalisques. In an absorbing book full of esoteric information, the author mixes personal and historical accounts - intimate first hand descriptions, exotic excerpts from many memoirs - while exploring the mysterious, hidden world from the Middle Ages to the 20th century. Copious, intriguing illustrations. (Kirkus UK)
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