Behind Closed Doors: Women's Oral Narratives in Tunis

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Rutgers University Press, 1996 - History - 369 pages
5 Reviews

Tunis has a long history of city life reaching back to ancient times. The Arabic language is firmly rooted among its inhabitants and most embrace the morals and culture of Islam. Behind Closed Doors presents forty-seven tales told by three Beldi women, members of a historic and highly civilized community, the city's traditional elite. Tale-telling is important to all Beldi women, and the book examines its role in their shared world and its significance in the lives of the three tellers.

Tales are told at communal gatherings to share and pass on Beldi women's secret lore of love, marriage and destiny. Ghaya Sa'diyya and Kheira tell stories which echo their life experience and have deep meanings for them. Their tales reflect accepted moral codes, and yet many depict attitudes, relationships, and practices that contradict established norms. Whereas Kheira presents a conservative and moralistic view of the role of women, Sa'diyya's heroines are alive with sexual energy, and Ghaya's stories also offer racy and rebellious comments on a woman's lot. These contradictory visions offer a kaleidoscopic view of the position of women in the rich life of a historic North African city.


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User Review  - CatEllington - LibraryThing

I love George Clooney, but I loathe the sinister Jack Angel. If it sounds, looks, or feels too good to be true, chances are it is. And it would be well for one to run like hell. Though some of us ... Read full review

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User Review  - Lauren2013 - LibraryThing

Behind Closed Doors 3.5 Stars Synopsis: Security expert, Seth Mackay seeks revenge against the man responsible for the murder of his brother, and he will go to any lengths including stalking his ... Read full review


The Tale of the Tales
The Beldi and Their World
Tales of Fable and Fact
Gha ya

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About the author (1996)

Monia Hejaiej has written an eloquent introduction to the volume, providing an overview of the history and culture of Tunis and insights into the reading of the tales.

Monia Hejaiej was born in 1957 in Tunis. She obtained her doctorate at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London and now teaches literature at the University of Tunis.

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