Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “مذكرات أميرة عربية ” as Want to Read:
مذكرات أميرة عربية
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Read Book

مذكرات أميرة عربية

3.66  ·  Rating details ·  1,359 ratings  ·  221 reviews
رواية أشبة بسيرة ذاتية للكاتبة
أميرة شرقية عربية وابنة سلطان عربي كبير تخرج قبل اكثر من مائة عام على تقاليد قومها فتتزوج شابا المانيا وتهجر من اجله وطنها وملك ابيها وتترك حياة العز والقصور لتطوح بها الاقدار في ديار الغربة بين لندن وبرلين، وتستبدل حياة الاختلاط والسفور في اوروبا بحياة الحريم والحجاب في الشرق وباسمها العربي السيدة سالمة بنت سعيد اسما اعجميا هو البرنسيس اميلي
...more
392 pages
Published 2006 by منشورات الجمل (first published 1886)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.66  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,359 ratings  ·  221 reviews


More filters
 | 
Sort order
Start your review of مذكرات أميرة عربية
Petra-X
This is a thoroughly enjoyable slim tome illustrated with contemporary photographs, a very short and interesting read. The book has nothing in common with Jean Sasson's writings on female Saudi royalty as the form of Islam practiced by the royal family of Zanzibar, at least at that time, seems to have been a great deal more relaxed than present-day Saudia Arabia.

There are three very odd things about the book. The first is that it is almost, from beginning to end, a paean in praise of Islam and t
...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
This book is in the public domain and can be found online for free, but I read it through Hoopla. This is the first known memoir of an Arab woman, and she is the daughter of the Sultan of Omar and Zanzibar. This is a peek into harem life, wealthy life, Muslim life but also the contrast between the "east" (as she calls it) and "European" customs because the author marries a German, converts to Christianity, and moves there. Fascinating!
Missy J
I thought this was a very fascinating memoir about the life of Emily Ruete, an Arabian princess who grew up in 19th century Zanzibar and later in life moved to Germany (she eloped to a German merchant) and converted to Christianity.

Her views on life are without a doubt is very interesting and different. She starts the memoir by describing the palace, her father, who was married to 70+ women and had 30+ children (I was surprised there weren't more children given that he was married to so many wom
...more
Calzean
A fascinating and well written account of Princess Salme/Emily Ruete's life. She was born into the Sultan of Zanzibar and Oman's harem. She lived through the split of Zanzibar and Oman, a failed coup and later married and lived in Germany.
Her views on the freedom of muslim women, the love found in the harem's menagerie of wives and children, the frugality of the Arab world, the benefits of living a slower pace, her pride in her culture when compared to her western life and her many regrets were
...more
Katie
Sep 18, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I bought this book in Zanzibar after reading several excerpts while visiting the Sultans' palace in Stone Town, and I just now got around to reading it. The book contains the memoirs of Emily (formerly Salme) Ruete, a nineteenth century Omani and Zanzibari princess, and as such, is the first known autobiography of an Arab woman. It is a fascinating portrait of Salme's childhood and life in the royal palace and plantations: customs, traditions, political turmoil, slavery, harem, status of women, ...more
Siria
The first known autobiography written by an Arab woman, Memoirs of an Arabian Princess is an interesting look at the island of Zanzibar (part of modern Tanzania) in the middle years of the nineteenth century. It's a slim book, and I think it was written with an eye to earning some money for Ruete, especially its first part—she had been living on very slender means in Germany for a number of years with her young family, and I think she would understandably have been interested in profiting from t ...more
Alice Meredith
Apr 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Quite old fashioned style, not v well crafted as a book but fascinating to read while seeing Zanzibar for an understanding of life as a sultan's daughter and picture of palaces visited as they were. Great read alongside The Last Slave Market for two different perspectives on her life.
Fatma Darwish
May 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
have read it twice (English and Arabic) a great book :) was recommending my friends to read it.

simply it takes you to that amazing atmosphere :)


PREFACE

"NINE years ago I conceived the idea of writing down some facts for the information of my children, who at that time knew nothing about my origin except that I was Arabian and had come from Zanzibar. Exhausted in body and in mind, I did not then expect to live until they were grown up, did not think I should ever relate to them verbally the happe
...more
Elizabeth
I think this is a really important primary source for understanding life in Zanzibar in the 1800s, and life in a harem. I think that Princess Salme/Emily Ruete has a unique perspective that few others can appreciate. I am really glad I read this book, but the context of recent visits to Zanzibar made it all the more relevant.
Temilade
Aug 02, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Emily Ruete, born 1840, was one of the youngest of 36 children born into the harem of Sultan Said. According to Wikipedia, she wrote this book due to financial hardships she faced after her husband died but Emily ,in the preface, claims that:

“… my memoirs were not intended for the general public, but for my dear children alone, to whom I have decided to bequeath the same, in token of a fond mother’s love, and I only yielded to the repeatedly expressed wishes of many friends in having them publis
...more
Sportyrod
Jan 26, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: tanzania
An Arabian Princess from Zanzibar tells her life story. Set in late 1800s.

The Princess’ father is the Sultan of Zanzibar and Oman. Her mother, a secondary wife (one of many). She has over 30 siblings.

Her childhood begins in a palace with most of the extended family. Her adulthood takes her to other villages nearby as well as Europe, primarily Germany.

Each chapter covers several themes including childbirth, parenting, clothing, religion, culture, politics, slavery and much more. Every topic I w
...more
Jessica
Jan 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Spoiler : First hand account of a woman's life as a child and young woman-living as an Arabian Princess (daughter of a sultan) in Zanzibar during the 1800's. Fascinating description of everyday life and customs-culture. As a woman she met and married a German businessman and escaped to Europe where she lived the rest of her life, returning once to visit her downtrodden homeland from its early splendor after civil war and new oppressive family rule. Touching at times and seasoned with lighthearte ...more
Vildan Arıcan
Nov 16, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I completely liked the way Emily argues against that so called orientalist discourse. even if she has black points like using the word Mahometan while depicting the islamic hue of the Zanzibar and that is due to her convert into Christianity as I believe. She challenges the taken for granted ideas against the muslim eastern societies justifying her culture with some dynamics like climate, religion, education and matrimony. If you want to critisize a certain group of people you should understand ...more
Lucy Lang
Sep 12, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This memoir was penned in the 1880s at a time when even high ranking Arab women did not commonly read and write. The author leads the reader into a hidden world of harems, home-schooling and an exotic upbringing on the spice island of Zanzibar. In her early years, the author is brought up in a beautiful palace by the sea. The book is full of beautiful images and a deep fondness for a forgotten world. It is written not just in an old English style, but the book was originally written in German an ...more
Eszter
Aug 29, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
this was definitely a fascinating read, though it dragged a bit at times. i bought this book during a trip to zanzibar and having been there and gone on tours of the palaces-turned-museums definitely helped frame her descriptions of everyday life as one of the 30 or so children of the sultan of zanzibar. her descriptions are opulent and elaborate, but are occasionally a bit hard to make solid pictures out of without outside reference points.

spoiler alert: rife with some pretty yikes-worthy peri
...more
Jennifer Lesyna Anthony
I downloaded this book thinking it would be a novel, but much to my inner historians' glee it was actually an account published in 1888 by an actual Arabian princess who was born in Zanzibar.

I started and finished her memoirs while exploring the island and it brought to life the history and my surroundings in a way I could only have dreamed of.

I especially found some of her commentary on polygamy and the end of the slave trade interesting. She was not afraid to voice her opinion on either matter
...more
Eugenia O'Neal
Mar 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This book gave a stunning, insightful look into the life of a privileged girl, born into royalty and growing up in turn-of- the-century, Zanzibar. Ruete's beautiful descriptions of the life she led put you right there among the smell of cloves and the swish of palm trees.
The_reem
Mar 13, 2012 rated it it was ok
Didn't like it much, she didn't talk about her self as much as she talked about her country, she skipped many interesting details, it's more of a history book than a memoir
Mirachil27
Dec 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Remarkable Tale

I have been reading many books about Muslims in many different times and places. This memoir stands apart from them in that it is a first person account of life in the Sultan's homes by a woman who was born there and lived there until her late teens.

The most enjoyable parts of the book, for me, were when she described the matrimonial ceremony, and described the day to day protocol for eating, praying, and visiting friends.

More than once, I was forced to pause and seriously conside
...more
Yana Goldman
When you read this book you have to bear in mind it was written a century ago, so the standards were very different. For me it was exceptionally hard to constantly learn about the Arabian culture through the prism of author's comparing it to Germany. If the book were written today, I would have dnf'ed it so hard.
But all in all, these are memories and impressions of a woman who, like many other people, idealizes her childhood and everything that is connected to it. She explains the virtues of thi
...more
Frankie
Jun 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am enjoying this book greatly. I’m not certain I should be writing a review before I have finished it, but I like it so much I can’t wait.
The author was born in 1844, daughter of a Circassian concubine (one of an estimated 75 concubines) and the kindly Sultan of Zanzibar and Oman. She describes her life in Zanzibar, her impressions of life and values there as compared to Germany, where she lived in later life with her German husband and children. From the first paragraph her writing shines wi
...more
M.
Feb 28, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If books were rated on how fast they put you to sleep at night this one would get 5 stars. Interesting content, a snapshot of life of an Arabian princess in the the mid-1800’s but ever so dry. A slim tomb but one that took me months, being read five to eight sentences at a time before being put to sleep. Would have loved to learn more about her ‘escape’ and life after Zanzibar but understand her target audience probably already knew or wasn’t as interested in that part of her story. Glad I stuck ...more
Abeer
Apr 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is an interesting story of Arabian princess’s life in Oman.
I loved How she describes the social and cultural history of Zanzibar.
She writes on numerous topics like schooling, fashion, realign and medical treatment.
Even though I didn’t agree with some of her points, For example, The enslavement but understand that’s related to her time and the social class.
I liked too, the women’s power in her personality.

I think many people would like the book, especially someone who’s interested in East an
...more
Bram Peeters
Sep 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fictie
Interesting perspective on a world that has pretty much been hidden behind orientalism...

This autobiography by an Omani-Zanzibari-German princess has comments on slavery and education, and fashion. All to be read with an attempt to understand what it might have meant in t the mid to late 19th century.

And if you've ever been to Zanzibar it is a brilliant addition to the experience there. Worth the read.
Nitya Iyer
Jun 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 4star
Sure, there are parts of this book that are super-dated, particularly in terms of racism. But it's an absolutely fascinating read if you are interested in hearing what life was actually like as a member of nobility in Zanzibar. Obviously, being a memoir, it's got a point of view that it's pushing. So just remember to temper what you learn from it with a grain of salt.
Heidi
Dec 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very interesting look at the life of a Tanzanian princess. The author details palace life, gender roles and the power play of a sultan’s multiple wives; photos complete the story.
John Levasseur
Jul 12, 2019 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
Interesting look into Zanzibar Court life in early-mid 19th century. Not the best writing as far as story telling or translation from German. I had enough after 30% of book.
Ducky Ackelson
Mar 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Surprising truths

Whether or not Reute is truly an Arabian princess shouldn't be disputed, as the detailed account of customs, courts, inside secrets, and life as royalty is too accurate to possibly be a lie. The blatant, unapologetic way the authoress describes, and confronts is compelling enough so that one does not want to put the book down until it is finished.
Roger Santi
Mar 06, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very interesting book, and if you are interested in learning more about this particular family and that area of the world, then this book would also be of interest - The Sultan's Shadow - One Family's Rule at the Crossroads of East and West - Christiane Bird.
Angela
Sep 18, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mmmmeh. Ostensibly, the interesting bit of reading this is its meta: what is it that the author chooses to emphasize or ignore. To begin with, the (true? mostly true?) story of Emily Ruete, formerly Sayyida Salme, Princess of Zanzibar, is an interesting little nugget of Zanzibari history. Her biography also offers a cool peek into 19th century Zanzibari culture and customs. It was fun, for example, to note the similarities and differences between the Omani Sultanate on Zanzibar - as experienced ...more
« previous 1 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Celestial Bodies
  • ناقة صالحة
  • تزممارت: الزنزانة رقم 10
  • يا صاحبي السجن
  • خرائط التيه
  • حوجن [Ḥawjan]
  • عائشة تنزل إلى العالم السفلي
  • Stolen Lives: Twenty Years in a Desert Jail
  • رسائل غسان كنفاني إلى غادة السمان
  • مذكرات أميرة عربية
  • كبرتُ ونسيت أن أنسى
  • وعاظ السلاطين
  • مع النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم
  • هناك
  • فاتتني صلاة
  • 40 أربعون
  • مهزلة العقل البشري
  • Abschied von Sansibar
See similar books…
44 followers
Emily Ruete (1844-1924) was born in Zanzibar as Sayyida Salme, Princess of Zanzibar and Oman. She was a daughter of Sayyid Said bin Sultan Al-Busaid, Sultan of Zanzibar and Oman.

News & Interviews

There are many ways to take action against racism. Reading in order to learn more about oppression and how to oppose it is just one of those ways...
334 likes · 217 comments