Celebrities in Switzerland: Isabelle Eberhardt
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Eberhardt, Isabelle (1877 - 1904) Armenia / WriterGenève / GE

Daughter of an Armenian, Alexandre Trophimovsky, and of the Jewish wife, of German origin, of a Russian general, Isabelle Eberhardt was born in Geneva where she grew up among cosmopolitan exiles bubbling with turbulent ideas.

At twenty years old, she left Geneva for Algeria, to follow her stepbrother who had joined up with the Foreign Legion. Fascinated by life in the desert, she converted to Islam and adopted the wandering life of the Bedouin tribes, living like the arabs.

She became amazingly knowledgeable about the realities of Algeria. Her written work includes numerous articles, novels, accounts - almost all of them centred on Islam. In her approach to the Magreb, she breaks utterly with all that is oriental and picturesque. She describes the Algerians, just as they are, as a colonised people.


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