Arabian Nights week 3
edited October 9 in (2023-4) The Annotated Arabian Nights, translated by Yasmine Seale
Age of Empire
- English translations from arabic came later. Lane had genuine desire to communicate and educate.
- Burton's translation was a personal take, feeding into Decadent literary community
- But most Western translations based on Galland
- Inspired realist fiction and Western form of novel: Dickens, Shelley, Brontë drew from the tales
- Ballet, fashion, theatre, all inspired by Modernist versions of Nights.
- Stressing eroticism and violence over adventure and wonder
- Popular with early film makers, especially special effects
- Spectacle over adherence to stories
Notes and questions
- Anyone know the history of the European novel? Are the Arabian Nights this influential?
- Seems to be an increasing emphasis on the exotic, otherworldly elements of the Tales
- Does the role of Tales in film, a visual medium, overshadow the narrative of the Tales? Something to pay attention to in the read.
- Notes point out connection between this tale and Shahrazad's position.
- Prompt to consider justice
- Social / cultural context. What did you learn?
- Merging of magical and realistic, fatalism
Merchant and Jinni
- Merchant inadvertently kills a jinni's son
- jinni swears to kill the man in retrubution, but he bargains for a delay of a year.
- When he returns to the jinni, three old men appear.
- First man bargains a tale for a third of hte merchant's life
- Tales for merchants, not rulers
- Accepting of fate, upholding of oaths
First Old Man
- Man married, but childless. Takes a lover, fathers a son.
- Wife learns magic, transforms lover and son into cattle
- After some time, man kills his transformed lover, but refuses to kill his son.
- Shepherd's daughter discerns the truth
- She marries the restored son and curses the wife
- Jinni agrees it is a strange tale
Notes and questions
- First tale by Shahrazad, first nested tale.
- Shahrazad chose a dangerous tale to tell first. How much attention should we pay to this, or is this just a good opening story, frame be damned?
- Thoughts on the presentation of Shahrazad's and Shahriyar's interjections each night? And that Shahriyah isn't named, only referred to as "the king"
- What do you think of the merging of magic in the tales, and the matter-of-fact way people accept it?
- How do these stories compare to what you thought they'd be, in terms of tone and content?
- There's a lot of notes, setting context and drawing out themes. Are these useful in the book, or getting in the way of enjoyment?