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A fascinating anthology of narratives composed by European women abducted by Muslim corsairs and enslaved in North Africa during the age of piracy, this book contains 8 accounts, most of which are reprinted or translated into English for the first time. They are written across a century, between 1735 and 1830, by female captives who come from socially and economically diverse backgrounds and belong to various European nationalities. These narratives played a major role in informing Westerns about North Africa and reshaping their attitudes towards Islamic cultures, and in refashioning white womanhood and confirming European assumption of cultural and religious superiority and colonial ideology. However, these captivity stories often turn out to be a nuanced critique of white subjectivity and civilization, thereby profoundly disorienting and subverting the discourse of empire. Cultural Otherness in these texts unfolds as being fundamentally ambiguous and complex and the world of Islam luxurious and irresistibly alluring.

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