Record of a Visit
Project info

The title of this series is taken from a book by the Nobel Prize-winning author Elias Canetti, 'The Voices of Marrakesh: A Record of a Visit'.

In the second essay in the book, he describes the souks in the city, writing, "What I really wanted to do was to find out how bargaining worked...". Below is a paragraph from this essay to give a flavour of Canetti's account of his visit to Marrakesh.

"It is desirable that the toing and froing of negotiations should last a miniature, incident-packed eternity. The merchant is delighted at the time you take over your purchase. Arguments aimed at making the other give ground should be far-fetched, involved, emphatic, and stimulating. You can be dignified or eloquent, but you will do best to be both. Dignity is employed by both parties to show that they do not attach too much importance to either sale or purchase. Eloquence serves to soften the opponent's resolution. Some arguments merely arouse scorn; others cut to the quick. You must try everything before you surrender. But even when the time has come to surrender it must happen suddenly and unexpectedly so that your opponent is thrown into confusion and for a moment lets you see into his heart. Some disarm you with arrogance, others with charm. Every trick is admissible, any slackening of attention inconceivable."