Sexual Encounters in the Middle East
The British, the French and the Arabs
This title is a study of a hitherto neglected topic: the way in which British, French and Arab men and women related to each other sexually, primarily during the 19th and 20th centuries. In examining sexual perceptions propagated in travel writing, paintings and novels together with sexual experiences of individuals, Hopwood argues that sexual attitudes have deeply influenced Euro-Arab relationships in the past and still do so today. Sexual attitudes and proclivities affected the ways in which people reacted to each other and, perhaps more controversially, influenced the course of history. Inherited sexual ideas coloured everyday relations in the Middle East and the relationships of Arabs in Europe. The lives of numerous individuals are studied, including Lawrence, Burton, Bell, Eberhardt, Gide and Thesiger, as are certain institutions which so fascinated Europe, such as the harem, hammam, veiling and slavery. The final section examines how modern Arab writers have treated Euro-Arab sexual relations in their many novels and short stories.
This book is a contribution to the social history of empire in the Middle East and to the understanding of the contemporary Euro-Arab relationship.
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What Reviewers Are Saying
'Hopwood writes well about the Middle East as a theatre of European fantasy and he has fine material on which to draw.' The Independent '..a fascinating study of a hitherto neglected topic...This book is an important contribution to the social history of empire in the Middle East and to the understanding of the contemporary Euro-Arab relationship' The Middle East 'a contribution to the historical sociology of sex and to the history of the Middle East.' Bulletin of the School of Oriental & African Studies 'a very good read.' Asian Affairs 'a most entertaining book that introduces to its reader a number of fascinating figures' Al-Ahram Weekly 'Although entertaining the general effect of the work is academic...has some wonderful snippets.' Hali