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In the Shadow of Islam by Isabelle Eberhardt

In the Shadow of Islam

by Isabelle Eberhardt

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Isabelle Eberhardt was born in Geneva, Switzerland in 1877. She was the illegitimate daughter of a Swiss aristocrat. For most of her life she dressed as a boy/ young man because it gave her more freedom. In 1897 she and her mother traveled to North Africa and converted to Islam. After the deaths of everyone in her family (except a married brother) she lived in North Africa, posing as a young, male Tunisian student from 1899 onward. She earned a living writing books and articles for French newspapers. This books chronicles her travels in the Sahara, mostly in Morocco and Algeria, in 1904. Her writing is very descriptive - about the people, the places, the rooms, religion and esp, the desert. She seems to have loved describing the play of light, at various times of day, on the desert sands. I was surprised by her many prejudices. I expected someone who sought out such a life to be more open minded. Her disdain for women, Jews and blacks is scattered throughout the text. Eberhardt died in a flash flood in October 1904. She was 27 years old. These essays were found in a vase inside the ruins of the collapsed house.
Recommended for those interested in travel, Islam, Sufism. ( )
  VioletBramble | Aug 12, 2013 |
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In 1897 Isabelle Eberhardt, aged 20, left an unconventional life in Geneva for Kenadsa, at the Morroccan frontier. Gripped by spiritual restlessness and the desire to break free from the confinements of her society and its perceived patriarchy, she travelled into the desert, and into the heart of Islam.… (more)

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