Author

Mineke Schipper

Mineke Schipper (b. 1938) was Professor of Intercultural Literary Studies at the University of Leiden. She has professorships in Nigeria, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Burkina Faso and China. She received a Dutch knighthood for ‘building intercultural bridges nationally and internationally, inside and outside the academy’ and continues her scholarly work at the Leiden University Centre for the Arts in Society. She wrote Widows as a recent widow herself.

Never Marry a Woman with Big Feet

Never Marry a Woman with Big Feet

Wereldwijsheid over vrouwen

(Unieboek Het Spectrum, 2004, 576 pages)

Countless ideas about women have been recorded over 27 the centuries in the most concise of all literary genres, the proverb. Mineke Schipper’s impressive study examines more than 15,000 sayings about women, drawn from 150 countries and more than 240 languages. They appear on crockery, tiles and clothing as well as in books, but most are passed on by word of mouth. Schipper arranges them by theme: the female body, the phases of a woman’s life as a girl, bride and wife and later as a mother and grandmother, and the joys and sorrows of love, sex and childbearing.

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In the Beginning There Was No One

In the Beginning There Was No One

How the first people came into being

(Prometheus, 2010, 320 pages)

Did Adam and Eve come from Saudi Arabia? A taxi driver in Egypt tells Mineke Schipper they did, but it grew so hot there that they fled to south-east Africa, where scientists now believe humans originated. People everywhere have wondered about our beginnings. Who were our first ancestors? Why are there two sexes? Their answers can be found in myths of origin and in creation stories, of which the biblical version is but one example.

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Adam and Eve Everywhere

Adam and Eve Everywhere

The first people in Judaism, Christianity and Islam

(Prometheus, 2012, 350 pages)

God created Adam and Eve and so, according to the Bible, humanity began. The Koran likewise points to Adam and his wife as the first people. The creation story as referred to in their Holy Book by Jews, Christians and Muslims is the best known version, but there is astonishing variety of other stories about Adam and Eve. They have been passed down by word of mouth from one generation to the next, in all parts of the world. Mineke Schipper’s book is the first to deal with these mostly unfamiliar stories.

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Covered or Uncovered

Covered or Uncovered

From Naked to Suited up

(Prometheus, 2015, 277 pages)

What has happened to human beings since we walked naked across the savannah? We braved the cold, we loved being attractive, we learned how to make an impression – but above all we felt embarrassed. Embarrassment was the original motivation for covering up. It started with a judiciously placed strand of fibre, in some cases developing into a tent-like robe. In Covered or Uncovered Mineke Schipper describes attitudes to bodily exposure in different cultures.

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Hills of Paradise

Hills of Paradise

A history of power and weakness

(Prometheus, 2018, 293 pages)

The female body has been admired, used and abused since time immemorial. Despite the symbiotic relationship between the sexes, men have always ended up with more power than women and the female anatomy seems to lie at the root of this inequality. We can find clues in art and literature; male narrators, artists and scholars have shown an eternal fascination for those body parts they lack: breasts, wombs and vulvas. Yet this fascination is often far from healthy.

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Widows

Widows

The Untold Story

(Prometheus, 2023, 246 pages)

Widows have always been more numerous than widowers, who usually remarry fast, almost always with younger women. For this and other reasons (such as war), men die sooner than their wives. According to a recent estimate, there are more than 258.5 million widows on earth and one in ten of them lives in extreme poverty. From ancient texts onwards, the need to represent women as weak and dependent is persistent, and widowhood has long been associated with an empty life.

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Translations

Website

http://www.minekeschipper.nl/