House with Wisteria: Memoirs of Turkey Old and New

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  • Edition: 2nd
  • Format: Nonspecific Binding
  • Copyright: 2009-02-15
  • Publisher: Routledge

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This edition of Halidé Edib Adivar’s Memoirs, prefacedwith Sibel Erol’s excellent introduction, is important andtimely. When stereotypes of women in the Muslim worldabound, Halide’s memoirs remind us of the courage anddedication of "foremothers" who struggled for emancipationat both personal and national levels. These memoirs open awindow on the search for personal expression of a womancaught up in the oppressive dynamics of her polygamoushouseholds (parental and marital), and the travails of nationalliberation and nation-building in Turkey, in which sheplayed an active role. Halide speaks to us with an urgencywhich now cries out to be heard more than ever.Halidé Edib’s memoirs are indispensable reading foranyone interested in the history of childhood and educationin the late Ottoman Empire. Edib worked to spreadpublic education, instituting schools in Istanbul and inthe Arab provinces during World War I. Her account isvibrant and direct, offering an excellent witness to thiscritical period during which the Empire collapsed.Halidé Edib lived through the most turbulent times inmodern Turkish history. Most unusually for a woman ofher day, she did so not only as an eyewitness, but as an activepolitical participant. She was on close personal termswith powerful leaders such as Talat Pasha and Ataturk, butretained a critical and independent mind. All this gives hermemoirs their unique character. The book provides newlight on the Ottoman Empire and the Turkish nation.

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