Odalisques blog

The Female Slave Market in Constantinople (1 Mar)
From the slave market to the sultan's bedchamber (17 Feb)
Buying a new slave for your harem (4 Feb)
Odalisquian books list now on Odalisques.com (29 Jan)
Edward Lane's descriptions and drawings of female clothing (27 Jan)
more posts...


"The Arab Scribe" by J.F. Lewis, 1852
"The Bath" by J.L. Gerome, in the Legion of Honor, San Francisco
"Odalisque" by Max Nonnenbruch
"By order of the sultan" by Antonio Fabres
"Idle Moments" by Frederick Arthur Bridgman, 1875
more pictures...


more books...

© Tanos

Odalisquian books

A selection of books about odalisques, harems, orientalist painting, and belly dance - all of which are available from Amazon.

The Belly Dance Reader by Lynette Harris

"The Belly Dance Reader is an anthology of essays from many of the leaders in our Middle Eastern music and dance community. The contributors range from PhD scholars to hobbyists. This book is illustrated with hundreds of photos and artwork from current to vintage, including various sub-styles of the dance, gathered from around the world. Subjects covered include: An introduction, dancing at various ages and stages, history, costuming and appearance, regional and sub styles of the dance, theory and technique, as well as valuable resources such as Arabic scales and rhythms, glossary, maps and ..."

 Amazon US: $29.99   Amazon UK: £18.78   Amazon FR: €24.89    Amazon DE: €24.54 

Bellydance: A Guide to Middle Eastern Dance, Its Music, Its Culture and Costume by Keti Sharif

"For those wanting to shake and shimmy their way to a firmer body, this comprehensive guide to belly dancing offers instructions on how to make the most of the hot belly-dancing-as-fitness trend. In addition to guiding the dancer to a trimmer waist, this how-to book helps put women in touch with their sensuality through the alluring moves of this ancient dance. Specific guidelines for pregnant women who wish to stay strong throughout the nine months and regain their prebaby belly are included. The history and culture of the art is also explored with a celebration of the pulsating music and ..."

 Amazon US: $16.95   Amazon UK: £18.99   Amazon FR: €27.92    Amazon DE: €24.89 

Colonial Harem (Theory and History of Literature) by Malek Alloula

"In the first decades of the twentieth century, the fine art genre of the odalisque, or Oriental nude, was displaced by a flood of popular postcards depicting the algerienne, the Algerian woman. Alloula, himself Algerian, studied this mass of now-discarded visual material in this classic study The Colonial Harem in which he wants to ‘return this immense postcard to its sender’, the French colonizer. He shows how the veiled Algerian woman was a provocation to the European photographer."

 Amazon US: $27.50   Amazon UK: £17.00   Amazon FR: €25.48    Amazon DE: €25.94 

The Concubine, the Princess, and the Teacher: Voices from the Ottoman Harem by Douglas Scott Brookes

"In the Western imagination, the Middle Eastern harem was a place of sex, debauchery, slavery, miscegenation, power, riches, and sheer abandon. But for the women and children who actually inhabited this realm of the imperial palace, the reality was vastly different. In this collection of translated memoirs, three women who lived in the Ottoman imperial harem in Istanbul between 1876 and 1924 offer a fascinating glimpse "behind the veil" into the lives of Muslim palace women of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The memoirists are Filizten, concubine to Sultan Murad V; ..."

 Amazon US: $30.00   Amazon UK: £20.99   Amazon FR: €28.70    Amazon DE: €28.30 

Dreaming of East: Western Women and the Exotic Allure of the Orient by Barbara Hodgson

"When Lady Mary Wortley Montagu visited the baths in Turkey in 1717 she was so tightly corseted that Turkish women were convinced her husband had locked her into some devious machine. Montagu’s account of her journey helped bring the region into the Western world’s consciousness, and by the 1800s, the vogue for Orientalia had overtaken a continent slowly sinking into the gloomy repressions of the Victorian era. Richly illustrated with color photos and sketches, Dreaming of East examines not just the exotic trappings of the Middle East but the heady freedoms it offered Western women. ..."

 Amazon US: $18.95   Amazon UK: £12.51   Amazon FR: €18.13    Amazon DE: €17.88 

Harem by Colin Falconer

"Colin Falconer is the best selling author of WHEN WE WERE GODS and AZTEC and over twenty other novels. His books have been translated into seventeen languages. "A page-turner . . . This peek behind the walls of the seraglio will seduce lovers of large-scale historical fiction." - Booklist He had everything a man might dream of; wealth, power and the choice of hundreds of the most beautiful women in his Empire. Why then did he forsake his harem for the love of just one woman, and marry her in defiance of the centuries-old code of the Osmanlis? This is the astonishing story of Suleiman, the one ..."

 Amazon US: $16.99   Amazon UK: £10.86   Amazon FR: €13.78    Amazon DE: €13.59 

The Harem: Inside the Grand Seraglio of the Turkish Sultans by N. M. Penzer

"For nearly four centuries, the Ottoman sultans dwelt amid the secret splendors of Topkapi Palace. Access to the Grand Seraglio--which served as the empire's administrative, legislative, and judicial center and an academy of fine arts, as well as the ruler's home--was jealously guarded, even after the sultans ceased to reside there in the mid-nineteenth century. In 1936, a distinguished scholar of Orientalism, Norman Mosley Penzer (1892-1960), was afforded a rare opportunity to step inside the Grand Seraglio; in this eagerly embraced and much-consulted volume, he reveals what he found. ..."

 Amazon US: $14.95   Amazon UK: £14.49   Amazon FR: €14.31    Amazon DE: €14.10 

Harem: The World Behind the Veil by Alev Lytle Croutier

"This book offers an insight into the harem and harem life, focusing on the famed Seraglio of Topkapi Palace. The author uses her first-hand experience to describe the absolute rule of the sultans, the slave markets and the eunuchs. The book is illustrated with paintings by Delacroix, Ingres and Renoir, Turkish woodcuts, Persian miniatures, photographs and film stills. Croutier investigates the middle class harems, looking at the polygamous life of ordinary Middle Eastern households, including marital customs, child rearing, medical practices, superstitions and the expression of desire and ..."

 Amazon US: $30.00   Amazon UK: £9.95   Amazon FR: €23.92    Amazon DE: €23.59 

Harems of the Mind: Passages of Western Art and Literature by Ruth Bernard Yeazell

"The Muslim practice of concealing women from the eyes of alien men tempted Europeans to extravagant projections of their own wishes and fears. This volume examines the art that resulted from the late 17th to the early 20th century, including travel writing, literature, painting and opera."

 Amazon US: $65.00   Amazon UK: £25.00   Amazon FR: €60.22    Amazon DE: €36.25 

The Imperial Harem of the Sultans: Daily Life at the Ciragan Palace during the 19th Century: Memoirs of Leyla (Saz) Hanimefendi by Leyla Saz

"Leya Hanimefendi was taken into the 'Harem' of Sultan Abdulmecid at the age of four and left the Ciragan palace only to be married. She is the only woman who wrote (or rather dictated to her son) her actual experiences of life at the Ciragan Palace where Sultan Abdulmecid reigned. "

 Amazon US: $29.97   Amazon UK: £36.83    Amazon DE: €62.68 

The Imperial Harem: Women and Sovereignty in the Ottoman Empire (Studies in Middle Eastern History) by Leslie P. Peirce

"The unprecedented political power of the Ottoman imperial harem in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries is widely viewed as illegitimate and corrupting. This book examines the sources of royal women's power and assesses the reactions of contemporaries, which ranged from loyal devotion to armed opposition. By examining political action in the context of household networks, Leslie Peirce demonstrates that female power was a logical, indeed an intended, consequence of political structures. Royal women were custodians of sovereign power, training their sons in its use and exercising it ..."

 Amazon US: $47.95   Amazon UK: £34.99   Amazon FR: €43.87    Amazon DE: €43.26 

Inside the Seraglio: Private Lives of the Sultans in Istanbul by John Freely

"This volume takes us behind the doors of Topkapi Sarayi and the other palaces of the Ottoman sultans who for more than six centuries ruled one of the world's most powerful empires. The heart of the palace was the Harem, the women's quarters, ruled by the Valide, or Queen Mother. Here the Sultan took his ease surrounded by his wives and concubines with their guardian black eunuchs, amused by his favourite pages, dwarfs and mutes, his younger brothers either slaughtered upon his accession or confined to the prison of the Cage. Earlier sultans like Mehmet the Conqueror and Suleyman the ..."

 Amazon US: $15.00   Amazon UK: £8.99   Amazon FR: €12.62    Amazon DE: €13.03 

Intimate Outsiders: The Harem in Ottoman and Orientalist Art and Travel Literature (Objects/Histories) by Mary Roberts

"Until now, the notion of a cross-cultural dialogue has not figured in the analysis of harem paintings, largely because the Western fantasy of the harem has been seen as the archetype for Western appropriation of the Orient. In Intimate Outsiders , the art historian Mary Roberts brings to light a body of harem imagery that was created through a dynamic process of cultural exchange. Roberts focuses on images produced by nineteenth-century European artists and writers who were granted access to harems in the urban centers of Istanbul and Cairo. As invited guests, these Europeans were “intimate ..."

 Amazon US: $23.95   Amazon UK: £16.99   Amazon FR: €22.92    Amazon DE: €26.08 

Jean-Leon Gerome. Monographie revisee et catalogue raisonne mis a jour (Les Orientalistes, Vol. 4) (French Edition) by Gerald M. Ackerman

"This monograph spans the entire life and work of Jean-Leon Gerome and is composed of two parts: a biographical appreciation and a catalogue of his paintings, prints and sculptures. The study of the artist's life is based on three ancient monographs, the perusal of the contemporary press and the recollections of students and friends. This catalogue is the result of 25 years of research. Approximately 700 paintings and 70 sculptures have been inventoried through archives, old State documents, catalogues and correspondence with collectors."

 Amazon US: $156.00   Amazon UK: £71.75   Amazon FR: €78.80    Amazon DE: €104.00 

Jean-Leon Gerome: His Life, His Work 1824-1904 (PocheCouleur, No. 21) by Gerald M. Ackerman

"A complete overview of Gerome's life and long career."

 Amazon US: $29.95   Amazon UK: £14.95   Amazon FR: €28.66    Amazon DE: €14.90 

La Femme Dans La Peinture Orientaliste (French Edition) by Lynne Thornton

"Of all the customs and traditions concerning Oriental women, the harem is certainly the most familiar and misunderstood. Travelling painters, writers and poets from the West, have all given free reign to their imagination and fantasies on the subject. To such an extent that in all the paintings from the beginning of the 18th century right up until the 1940s, reality is inseparably linked to the artist's imagination. Besides the theme of odaliscs and almahs, this book also focuses on daily life in the harem. Over 150 prestigious Orientalist painters are listed in individual monographs."

 Amazon US: $133.50   Amazon UK: £70.00   Amazon FR: €89.90    Amazon DE: €89.00 

Manners and Customs of the Modern Egyptians by E. W. Lane

"A pioneering work of cultural anthropology, E.W. Lane's study of Egyptian society has not been out of print since it was first issued in 1836. Immersing himself in Egyptian culture, Lane learned the Arabic language and adopted the Arab way of life. Written before the forces of innovation transformed Egypt, Manners and Customs is recognized for its wide-ranging scope of detail of daily life on topics such as the nature of Islamic laws and its relation to government, birth and marriage customs, death and funeral rites, music and dancing, and the world of magic and alchemy. This distinctive work ..."

 Amazon US: $26.99   Amazon UK: £16.99   Amazon FR: €25.01    Amazon DE: €24.65 

Multiple Wives, Multiple Pleasures: Representing the Harem, 1800-1875 by Joan DelPlato

"An ambitious and complex study of the harem and its representations in nineteenth-century France and England. Joan DelPlato guides the reader through analyses of some 170 pictures along with impressions of the harem and slavery recorded by politicians, feminists, abolitionists, writers, and travelers."

 Amazon US: $85.00   Amazon UK: £76.50   Amazon FR: €78.75    Amazon DE: €80.19 

Odalisques and Arabesques: Orientalist Photography 1839-1925 by Ken Jacobson

"Profusely illustrated, this is the most comprehensive survey to date of nineteenth- and early twentieth-century photography of the Middle East and North Africa. Using Orientalist painting as a counterpoint, it primarily relates the extraordinarily rich visual documentation of the peoples and cultures of the 'Orient'. "

 Amazon US: $176.61   Amazon UK: £60.00   Amazon FR: €84.20    Amazon DE: €83.02 

The Orient in Western Art by Gerard-Georges Lemaire

"The Orient and the mystical images it evokes have always been a special source of inspiration in the history of European painting. From the Venetian portrayal of the Renaissance and the first examples of the Turkish Fashion to the heyday of the 19th century and the Tunis paintings by August Macke and Paul Klee, this volume with over 300 full-colour illustrations traces the development of the oriental motif in painting."The Orient in Western Art" presents the emergence and development of an artistic motif accompanied by explanations of social and cultural history."

 Amazon US: $39.95   Amazon UK: £19.99   Amazon FR: €88.21    Amazon DE: €86.97 

Orientalism: History, Theory and the Arts by John M. MacKenzie

"The Orientalism debate, inspired by the work of Edward Said, has been a major source of cross-disciplinary controversy in recent years. John MacKenzie offers a comprehensive re-evaluation of this vast literature of Orientalism and brings to the subject highly original historical perspectives. This study provides the first major discussion of Orientalism by a historian of imperialism. Setting the analysis within the context of conflicting scholarly interpretations, John MacKenzie then carries the discussion into wholly new areas, testing the notion that the western arts received genuine ..."

 Amazon US: $35.00   Amazon UK: £17.99   Amazon FR: €25.25    Amazon DE: €24.89 

The Private World of Ottoman Women (Saqi Essentials) by Godfrey Goodwin

"Reconstructing the role of women in Ottoman high society and power politics, Godfrey Goodwin brings to life the women who made their marks in a male domain.   He examines the laws which governed women’s lives from the harem to the humblest tasks, and contrasts the lives of rural women with those of women in the towns, discussing pivotal events such as courtship, marriage, divorce, and motherhood.   This perceptive study culminates in the nineteenth century, exploring the advent of modernity and its impact at a time of imperial decline. "

 Amazon US: $24.95   Amazon UK: £14.99   Amazon FR: €19.44    Amazon DE: €21.72 

Race and Slavery in the Middle East: An Historical Enquiry by Bernard Lewis

"From before the days of Moses up through the 1960s, slavery was a fact of life in the Middle East. Pagans, Jews, Christians, and Muslims bought and sold at the slave markets for millennia, trading the human plunder of wars and slave raids that reached from the Russian steppes to the African jungles. But if the Middle East was one of the last regions to renounce slavery, how do we account for its--and especially Islam's--image of racial harmony? How did these long years of slavery affect racial relations? In Race and Slavery in the Middle East , Bernard Lewis explores these questions and ..."

 Amazon US: $24.99   Amazon UK: £16.50   Amazon FR: €23.91    Amazon DE: €23.57 

Rethinking Orientalism: Women, Travel, and the Ottoman Harem by Reina Lewis

""Lewis’s painstaking and imaginative exploration of the ‘harem writings’ of early-twentieth-century Ottoman women illustrates the complex ways in which these women manipulated cultural codes and tried to both challenge and accommodate well-entrenched stereotypes. She not only illuminates dilemmas facing late-Ottoman women; she helps problematize issues of identity and change that remain central to Middle Eastern women today."—Dina Le Gall, author of A Culture of Sufism: Naqshband?s in the Ottoman World, 1450–1700 "This exploration of a dialogue between East and West just a century ago on the ..."

 Amazon US: $29.95   Amazon UK: £19.77   Amazon FR: €27.75    Amazon DE: €28.26 

Scenes Orientales by Dupouy Alexandre

"Dupouy has produced a 120 hand coloured photographs with a unique feel somewhere between the orientalist painters and modern fetish photography. The subject matter is naked women either individually or more often in groups, in a harem setting. Very little happens in the images, and some resemble a still life, but others do have hints of an underlying narrative. "

 Amazon US: $32.95   Amazon UK: £19.99   Amazon FR: €29.90    Amazon DE: €42.40 

Secrets of the Harem by Carla Coco

"The book covers, in great detail, the physical quarters of the harem (the Topkapi seraglio) and its various inhabitants. The author touches upon various subjects: art, music, and dance; and the changing position of women in Turkish culture."

 Amazon US: $18.00   Amazon FR: €52.61    Amazon DE: €64.34 

Unveiling the Harem: Elite Women and the Paradox of Seclusion in Eighteenth-Century Cairo (Middle East Studies Beyond Dominant Paradigms) by Mary Fay

"After introducing us to the histories of the harem and the Mamluk revival, Fay follows the stages of a woman's life as she enters her household, first as a concubine, then a wife, becoming part of her immediate neighbourhood and the wider city."

 Amazon US: $45.00   Amazon UK: £38.95   Amazon FR: €43.06    Amazon DE: €42.46 

White Gold: The Extraordinary Story of Thomas Pellow and North Africa's One Million European Slaves by Giles Milton

"This is the forgotten story of the million white Europeans, snatched from their homes and taken in chains to the great slave markets of North Africa to be sold to the highest bidder. Ignored by their own governments, and forced to endure the harshest of conditions, very few lived to tell the tale. Using the firsthand testimony of a Cornish cabin boy named Thomas Pellow, Giles Milton vividly reconstructs a disturbing, little known chapter of history. Pellow was bought by the tyrannical sultan of Morocco who was constructing an imperial pleasure palace of enormous scale and grandeur, built ..."

 Amazon US: $8.12   Amazon UK: £8.99   Amazon FR: €13.22    Amazon DE: €13.03 

Women as Portrayed in Orientalist Painting: Pocket Colour Series by Lynne Thornton

"Brings together more than 150 artists who depicted the lives of Oriental women."

 Amazon US: $29.95   Amazon UK: £14.95   Amazon FR: €27.75    Amazon DE: €14.90