• The Oblivion Seekers
‘She was the first hippie. She travelled with no money living from day to day; she had no concept that chastity was of any value and was sexually voracious; she was into kif-smoking and she lived in Morocco dressed as a man.’ – Juliet Stevenson

Isabelle Eberhardt’s life was one of the most extraordinary of any writer’s of the last 150 years.

Daughter of a Russian Nihilist who forbade her any contact with society, dressed her as a man and insisted her education consisted of hard physical labour, she, perhaps unsurprisingly, ran away to North Africa in 1897, aged twenty. There she travelled through the Sahara and became one of the few white women ever to have been initiated into Sufism. She also produced a small but exceptional body of writing.

The Oblivion Seekers is a selection of her best stories and vignettes of African life, including several excerpts from the unfinished work her biographer Cecily Mackworth called ‘one of the strangest documents that a woman has given to the world’.

Translated from the French and with a preface by Paul Bowles 
‘Limpid, quietly ecstatic sketches of life and death.’ – Times Literary Supplement
‘Strongly atmospheric.’ – Time Out
‘Thirteen evocative glimpses into Eberhardt‘s fiercely nomadic life.’ – Blitz
‘Highly literary, evocative, romantic.’ – Kathy Acker, Guardian


ISABELLE EBERHARDT (1877–1904) was born in Geneva, Switzerland, the illegitimate daughter of a Russian Orthodox priest and a part-Russian, part-German aristocrat. She spent much of her short adult life in north Africa, where she converted to Islam. She was killed in a flash flood at the age of twenty-seven.
Bibliographic Data
Date Published 11th January 2009
ISBN Number 9780720613384
Pages 96

The Oblivion Seekers

  • £7.99


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Tags: Travel, Feminism, North Africa, Women Writers, Women in Translation, PAUL BOWLES, travel writing, isabelle eberhardt, eberhard, in the shadow of islam, Ithell Colquhoun