Crowning Anguish: Memoirs of a Persian Princess from the Harem to Modernity 1884-1914

By Ringer, Monica | Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, August 1994 | Go to article overview

Crowning Anguish: Memoirs of a Persian Princess from the Harem to Modernity 1884-1914


Ringer, Monica, Washington Report on Middle East Affairs


Crowning Anguish: Memoirs Of a Persian Princess From The Harem to Modernity 1884-1914

By Taj al-Saltana, edited with introduction and notes by Abbas Amanat. Mage Publishers, Washington, DC, 1993, 345 pp. List: $14.95; AET: $11.95.

Reviewed by Monica Ringer

The publication of Taj al-Saltana's memoirs in English finally provides the non-Persian reader with one of the more critical pieces of literature available on Iran's Qajar period (1722-1921), which directly preceded the rule of Reza Shah and Muhammad Reza Shah Pahlavi.

Daughter of the famous Naser al-Din Shah Qajar who ruled from 1848 to 1896 and was the first Iranian shah to travel to Europe, Taj al-Saltana provides a unique perspective on court life as well as on international affairs of her time. While tales about harem life abound, hers is the only known account written by an insider. No-where else, for example, can a reader find such detailed descriptions of venomous harem intrigues, and the lonely and often cruel environment in which they unfolded.

Her colorful, candid and often amusing anecdotes provide real insight into her life as a woman, a member of the royal household, and a keen and intelligent observer of the emerging chasms in Iran's social, cultural, and political spheres.

Taj al-Saltana witnessed the crucial juncture in Iranian history when traditional norms and attitudes began to be questioned, when European culture and political ideas were taken up by reformers and writers, and when a new, politically engaged intelligentsia first emerged.

In 1905, political reformers and leading members of the religious establishment joined together to limit governmental arbitrariness, and forced the shah to accept a constitution. By 1911, however, the alliance between the reformers and the religious establishment disintegrated as it became clear that their goals were mutually incompatible. The dissolution of this alliance presaged the ideological and cultural split which has continued to divide Iranian society to this day.

Writing in 1914, Taj al-Saltana looks back on the ultimate failure of the Constitutional Revolution of 1905-11 to establish anything more than a token parliament, and testifies to the frustration felt by many reformers and reform-minded observers over the continued arbitrary and inefficient nature of government. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Crowning Anguish: Memoirs of a Persian Princess from the Harem to Modernity 1884-1914
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.