Harem Years: The Memoirs of an Egyptian Feminist (1879-1924)

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Feminist Press at CUNY, 1987 - Biography & Autobiography - 158 pages
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In this rare first-hand account of the private world of a Cairo harem during the years before Egypt declared independence in 1922, Shaarawi recalls her childhood and early adult life in the seclusion of an upper-class Egyptian household, including her marriage at age thirteen. Her subsequent separation from her husband gave her time for an extended formal education, as well as an unexpected taste of independence and a critical understanding of the price of confinement. Shaarawi's feminist activism grew along with her involvement in Egypt's nationalist struggle and culminated in 1923 in a daring act of defiance,when she publicly removed her veil in a Cairo railroad station.
 

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Contents

CIRCASSIAN RELATIVES
23
MY MOTHER
25
MY FATHER
27
TWO MOTHERS
33
MY BROTHER
37
THE EUNUCHS AND THE MAID
39
ROUTINES AND EVENTS
42
FEASTS
46
A NEW MENTOR AND HER SALON FOR WOMEN
76
RECONCILIATION
83
A CURE IN PARIS
84
BEING A MOTHER
86
A TURKISH SUMMER
88
THE FIRST PUBLIC LECTURES FOR WOMEN
92
THE MABARAT MUHAMMAD ALI
94
THE INTELLECTUAL ASSOCIATION OF EGYPTIAN WOMEN
98

WOMEN PEDLARS
48
VISITING THE PALACE
50
CHILDHOOD COMPANIONS AND THE FAREWELL
52
THE WEDDING
56
A NEW BRIDE
58
LESSONS AGAIN
62
COMPANIONSHIP
63
ATTEMPTS AT RECONCILIATION
64
SOJOURNS IN ALEXANDRIA
66
PORTRAIT OF THE HARD LIFE OF A WOMAN
70
THE FINAL ILLNESS OF NIECE HUDA
100
A EUROPEAN SUMMER ON THE EVE OF WAR
101
TWO DEATHS
106
THE BRIDGE OF NATIONALISM
111
EPILOGUE
112
NOTES
138
APPENDIX
148
GLOSSARY
153
INDEX
156
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About the author (1987)

Huda Shaarawi (1879-1947) was among the last generation of Egyptian women to live in the segregated world of the harem. Her feminist activism grew out of her involvement in Egypt's nationalist struggle, and led to her founding of the Egyptian Feminist Union in 1923.

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