KIBRIZLI-MEHEMET-PACHA [Melek-Hanum]. Trente ans dans les Harems d'Orient. Paris, Dentu, 1875.
8vo. Quarter calf over marbled boards; spine lettered and ruled in gilt; pp. [iv], 360, iv; photographic plate of a veiled woman as frontispiece [author?]; some rubbing to edges of boards; p. 179 with torn away upper-corner affecting pagination; shelfmark in ink on half-title; library stamping throughout; upper hinge re-inforced; a good copy.
An account of social life and customs in Turkey in the 19th century, given by Melek Hanim, the wife of Kibrisli Mehemet-Pacha, after his death in 1871. Her memoirs provide an account of her time in the harem, and of the high spheres of Ottoman society that surrounded this institution at that time. Her biography was first published in London in 1872. 'Melek Hanum (Hanim) ... met Kibrisli Mehement (Mehmed) Pasha, in Paris, and they were married upon returning to Istanbul. She accompanied him to various postings in Palestine and Serbia, and shared with him the frustrations of the arbitrary periodic dismissals that characterized late Ottoman politics. Her sensationalist account of life in Turkey contains details of political intrigue and corruption, and demonstrates the influence and mobility available to women in the official households of the Ottoman elite. During Mehmed Pasha’s absence, Melek Hanim concocted a plan to replace her sickly son with another child in the event of his expected death. Although her own son survived, one of her co-conspirators killed another, and the ensuing scandal resulted in her divorce. She spent the rest of her life trying to exact vengeance upon her ex-husband and attempting to gain access to property she viewed as legitimately her own. After several setbacks, she and two of her children finally fled to Paris. Thirty Years in the Harem, was written during her impoverished exile there, and is highly critical of Islam and of Ottoman society' (e-book edition advertisement text, online).
An ex-library copy, numbered '353,' from 'Cercle des Phocéens,' or, the Marseilles Circle, founded in 1787. This group was founded by local noteables, who wished to propose new ideas outside of religion and politics, and who were interested in ideas of the development of the city.