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Harem: The World Behind the Veil [Paperback]

Alev Lytle Croutier
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Book Description

12 July 1993
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.

Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Abbeville Press Inc.,U.S.; New edition edition (12 July 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1558591591
  • ISBN-13: 978-1558591592
  • Product Dimensions: 25.4 x 17.9 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 100,145 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Firstly, please excuse my English. I loved the book, I also share the authors passion for the Orientalist painters & travellers that captured the mystery and intrigue of of the Orient in memoirs and on canvas. A very well written insight to the life of the Harem dwellers, their lives within their limitaions. Secrets of a well guarded life so effective that to this day, one must join fragments and whispers to conjure up a jigsaw to form a discription of what lay behind the Harem wall. This the author did very well ; However her description of the Muslim woman and her role in Islam and society is very misguided & Misquoted. This is one of the things that gives the Non-Muslim population a distorted view regarding our faith and culture. This lead me to an uncomfortable conclusion that perhaps she was not accurate in the beautiful web she weaved about the magical world behind the veil. Nevertheless is is a captivating read, I reccomend should be read with an open mind and if facts are to be researched, I would suggest other more accurate literature to be your source of information.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Informative and easy to read 16 April 2001
The book is a blend of the author's personal experiences from her childhood, and historical information about harems. It is illustrated with many colour and black and white pictures, some of them historical photos, some orientalist fantasy paintings/photos. I found it pleasant to read and informative.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good 18 Sep 2012
By Evie
I was a bit disappointed because i expected a different approach. The book is about the author's personal knowledge on the matter through her memories and her family's narrations. It still is a good book but not what i expected. Great illustrations though.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting reading 14 Nov 2012
By harmony
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Covers in detail, interesting facts about a very closed world.
I would highly recommend this book as thought provoking, and
stimulating. Amazing to think this kind of thing still goes on
in the world today.
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5 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best woman's book of the Twentieth Century! 13 Aug 1999
By A Customer
This is one of the most profound and moving books about women to emerge in the Twentieth Century. No woman--or man--should fail to read it!
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