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The Nomad: The Diaries of Isabelle Eberhardt…

The Nomad: The Diaries of Isabelle Eberhardt

by Isabelle Eberhardt

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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French (1)  English (1)  All languages (2)
Isabelle Eberhardt had a fascinating life - a young European woman, a convert to Islam, living and travelling around early 1900s Algeria, often dressed in male Arab costume, she was expelled by the French colonial authorities and almost killed by a member of a rival Muslim sect.

Frustratingly, very little of this comes out in the diaries - which are not so much diaries (ie a record of the events of someone's life) as journals (as in 'I have to do some journaling today'). Occasionally there is a snippet of something which actually happened, but the majority of the contents are either descriptions of the countryside, which read like first drafts of the literary career to which Eberhardt aspired, incoherent admonitions to herself to live better, or self-pitying complaints about how no-one really understands her ("needless to say ... mediocre people cannot abide me"). The general effect is very teenage - and strangely modern - I would never have guessed that the inner life of a late-Victorian woman would be so recognisable. Sadly that's the most interesting thing about the book. ( )
  wandering_star | Oct 12, 2008 |
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» Add other authors (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Isabelle Eberhardtprimary authorall editionscalculated
Kabbani, RanaPrefacesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Voogd, Nina deTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Isabelle records her thoughts during her visit to her newly married brother Augustin in Sardinia.

Cagliari,1 January 1900

I sit here all by myself, looking at the grey expanse of murmuring sea...I am utterly alone on earth, and always will be in this Universe so full of lures and disappointments...alone, turning my back on a world of dead hopes and memories.
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In her short life Isabelle Eberhardt (1877-1904) came to be known as the ultimate enigma and representative of everything that seemed dangerous in nineteenth-century society. Born the illegitimate daughter of an aristocratic Russian emigree she was a cross-dresser and sensualist, an experienced drug-taker and a transgressor of boundaries: a European reborn in the desert as an Arab and Muslim, a woman who reinvented herself as a man, wandering the Sahara on horseback. A profoundly lonely individual for all her numerous sexual adventures, she roused controversy and was loved and hated in equal measure. A mysterious attempt was made on her life and even her eventual death was ambiguous: she drowned in the desert at the age of twenty-seven. La bonne nomade, Isabelle's diaries, is a fascinating account of her strange and passionate nomadic lifestyle; an evocative and deeply personal record of her torments, her search for inspiration as a writer, her spirituality and the intense color and fire of her living.… (more)

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