The World Beyond the Veil

232pp ILLUS 2014 LIST PRICE: £21.99 (P) HC43



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Drawing on first-hand accounts and memoirs, as well as her own family history, the author explores life in the world’s harems, from the Middle Ages to the early twentieth century, focusing on the fabled Seraglio of Topkapi Palace as a paradigm for them all. We enter the slave markets and the lavish boudoirs of the sultanas; witness the daily routines of the odalisques and of the eunuchs who guarded the harem; and explore marital customs, child-rearing practices and superstitions. Juxtaposing a rich array of illustrations -- Western paintings, Turkish and Persian miniatures, family photographs and film stills – the book demystifies the Western erotic fantasy of ‘the world behind the veil’.

A book of breathtaking beauty, lavishly illustrated with colour plates and written in an ingratiating prose. WASHINTON POST