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Ructions in the Seraglio

Ruth Bernard Yeazell, 8 December 1994

The Harem Within: Tales of a Moroccan Girlhood 
by Fatima Mernissi.
Doubleday, 254 pp., £16.99, September 1994, 0 385 40542 1
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Ramza 
by Out el Kouloub, translated by Nayra Atiya.
Syracuse, 201 pp., £13.50, July 1994, 0 8156 0280 4
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... that hardly counts as evidence that we have come any closer to understanding the harem itself. As Fatima Mernissi makes clear, ‘the’ harem is pretty much an imaginary construct in any case, there having always been harems and harems. Though her subtle memoir of growing up in Morocco in the Forties dwells more on the constraints than on the ...

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