Memoirs of an Arabian princess from Zanzibar by Emilie Ruete Born Salme, Princess of Oman and Zanzibar

Published by The Gallery Publications, 1998, Paperback.

Condition: Very Good.

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First in this, paperback, edition. Illustrated with black and white photographs. From the cover: Salme, princess of Zanzibar and Oman, daughter of Sultan Said the Great, was horn in the Beit el Mtoni, largest of the Zanzibar palaces, in about 1840. Her mother was a tall and shapely Circassian slave, one of scores of concubines whose destiny-was to give pleasure and comfort to their master as members of the royal harem. But readers expecting revelations of the erotic East beyond the harem screens will be disappointed. Nor, in this fascinating autobiography, will they discover too many secrets with regard to Salines daring romantic dalliance with the German businessman she later married. The affair, which flourished from rooftop to rooftop across the narrow gap separating the lovers, respective town houses, and which led to an early pregnancy, elopement and marriage, scandalized Zanzibar society and almost brought the Sultanate and Britain into serious conflict. But Salme alludes to it only briefly. What she does provide are countless absorbing insights into everyday life in the harem and the palaces, at a time when Zanzibar was at the height of its influence and at the focal point of an astonishing network of activity, from the lucrative trade in slaves, ivory and cloves to the exploration of the African interior and the political intrigues which characterised the scramble for Africa. With an intuitive feel for the value of mystery that might be expected from a daughter of the harem, Salme leaves us in possession of stimulating new knowledge, yet wanting to know more.

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