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Four women who dared to live their romantic fantasies, not just dream them. Aimee Dubucq de Rivery was a convent girl who was captured by pirates and forced to join the enormous harem of the Turkish sultan. Lady Ellenborough was a society beauty who fled London and became notorious for her love affairs with the important men of Europe, including two kings - Ludwig of Bavaria and Otho of Greece, then she lived with an Arab sheik in Syria for almost 30 years. Isabel Burton travelled to exotic lands with her explorer husband. Isabelle Eberhardt was born and raised in Switzerland and grew up as a nonconformist, feeling most comfortable in boy’s clothes. She lived among the Arabs in the North African desert and described her surroundings in travel writings and journals. Yet although of widely different natures, backgrounds and origins, all had this in common - each found, in the East, ‘glowing horizons of emotion and daring’. And each of them, in their own way, used love as a means of individual expression, of liberation and fulfilment.
Lesley Blanch was interviewed in Cornucopia 37 by Philip Mansel. She died in May 2007
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