Memoirs of an Arabian Princess: An Accurate Translation of Her Authentic Voice (Paperback)
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Sayyida Salme lived a remarkable life in remarkable times and told the tale more than a century ago in her Memoirs of an Arabian Princess, the first book commercially published by an Arab woman. She was born in 1844 as a princess on the island of Zanzibar, daughter of the great Omani Sayyid Said bin Sultan and his Circassian slave Djilfidan. By the time she published her Memoirs in German in 1886, she had moved from Arab royalty amidst harem politics to the challenges of raising a family as a single mother in a foreign land. Her experience breached boundaries across color and culture lines, religions, countries, and hemispheres. Her exceptional path gave her exceptional insights that are still relevant. Sayyida Salme's life reflects a degree of determination and search for self-expression that still fascinate readers and motivate scholars around the world today.
Not long after the original publication of the Memoirs, two translations appeared in 1888 and 1907. No longer copyrighted, these translations have been reprinted in various editions that are easily and cheaply available. But no matter the packaging, they all suffer from the same serious flaw: They are not entirely true to the original. In an effort to respect the author and uphold contemporary standards of authenticity, this new edition presents an accurate translation in readable English fit for the modern age. Written with great care by her great-great-granddaughter, it seeks to revive her original narrative in her authentic voice. Through these Memoirs, we can learn much about Sayyida Salme's time and place in history - and about ourselves.