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Sweet Boy Dear Wife - Jane Dieulafoy in Persia 1881-1886

Sweet Boy Dear Wife - Jane Dieulafoy in Persia 1881-1886

Heather Rossiter

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Overview

“Will

‘What! That sweet boy is a woman?’ asked the Shah. ‘Indeed, your Majesty,’ replied Colonel Dieulafoy, ‘she is Madame Dieulafoy, my dear wife.’ Captivated by enamelled tiles and bricks used in Islamic buildings, Jane Dieulafoy’s search in great cities and small villages, despite illness, religious fanatics and wild tribesmen, is an exciting story of risk and resolve. Blue-eyed Jane dressed as a boy to accompany her husband on digs in Persia, where women were veiled and enclosed. Her adventures led to the unexpected discovery of enamelled brick friezes in the 2500-year-old city of Susa. Displayed at the Louvre Museum in 1886, the Lion and Archer friezes created a sensation and remain today among the Louvre’s greatest treasures. Sweet Boy Dear Wife: Jane Dieulafoy in Persia 1881-1886 is based on Jane’s diaries. Princes and lowly Persians, nomads, tribal chiefs and functionaries fill the pages, but particularly resonant are the women, both vital tribal women and pathetic creatures locked in anderuns (harems). Their subjugation saddened Jane, an early feminist, who believed passionately that women should be free to live dignified independent lives.

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