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.
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.