November 1948: The body of Marga d'Andurain, murdered on his yacht, is thrown overboard … A troubled end, which consolidates his reputation as a spy, based on rumors. This heavy heritage is at the origin of the vocation of historian of the colonial period of her granddaughter Julie d 'Andurain: she made the mysteries of her grandmother her first research work, alas unpublished. Here she pursues this demystification enterprise by re-editing the account of the passion for the Orient of her grandmother, who had a luxury hotel with her husband in Palmyra, Syria. Marga d'Andurain's desire to penetrate the Arab confines seems to rest only on her curiosity and her taste for adventure, so strong that they make her ready for anything. She does not hesitate to divorce in order to contract a white marriage with a Muslim; he will be her "Husband passport", title in 1947 of his work, here enriched with historical annotations.
Suspected of the murder of her spouse, who became Muslim and lost the French nationality which protected her from local customs and habits, she was locked up in a harem. We know how much this man-dominated woman generated fantasies, translated into so many words and pictures, because she was not visited by strangers. Also, this testimony is all the more precious, even if it must be read according to the sensitivity of the time; it measures according to the criteria of European civilization, postulated superior to others, prejudice shared by "Prisoner".
JULIE D'ANDURAIN Marga d´Andurain (1893-1948) A passion for the Orient. Le Mari Passeport, New annotated edition Maisonneuve & Larose and Hémisphère éditions, 492 pp., 20 €.
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