The Arabian Nights in Historical Context: Between East and by Saree Makdisi, Felicity Nussbaum

By Saree Makdisi, Felicity Nussbaum

Alf layla wa layla (known in English as 1000 and One Nights or The Arabian Nights) replaced the realm on a scale unrivalled by way of the other literary textual content. encouraged by means of a fourteenth-century Syrian manuscript, the looks of Antoine Galland's twelve-volume Mille et Une Nuits in English translation (1704-1717), heavily by way of the Grub road English variation, drew the textual content into ecu circulate. Over the next 300 years, a extensively heterogeneous sequence of variations, compilations, translations, and diversifications turned around the globe to bare the absorption of The Arabian Nights into English, Continental, and worldwide literatures, and its transformative go back to fashionable Arabic literature, the place it now enjoys a level of prominence that it had by no means attained through the classical interval. starting with an intensive advent situating The Arabian Nights in its historic and cultural contexts-and supplying a clean exam of the text's a number of destinations within the lengthy historical past of contemporary Orientalism--this number of essays through famous students from "East," "West," and in-between reassesses the impression of the Nights in Enlightenment and Romantic literature, in addition to the text's energetic afterlife within the modern Arabic novel.

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The stories told by Hanna, alongside the other Nights tales, would become famous not only in Europe, but also in the Arab world and beyond. Yet the Journal omits almost all of the details that would bring this crucial exchange to life, 22 Lucas was the author of Voyage du sieur Paul Lucas fait par ordre du roi dans la Gre`ce, l’Asie Mineure, la Macedoine et l’Afrique (Amsterdam: Aux de´pens de la Compagnie, 1714). 23 See Chraı¨bi and Sermain, Antoine Galland, iii, pp. i–ix. 36 / Madeleine Dobie which would make it possible to identify the exact moment and process by which Levantine, Arabic stories became European cultural referents.

Translation in the Contact Zone / 29 linguistic. Although historically many people have read both Arabic or Turkish and a Latin-based language, many more have mastered only one linguistic family, and to these readers not only the other language, but also the traces that it has left on their native tongues, are virtually impossible to decipher. As a result, the crucial interface between Romance and Arabic languages and literatures, Christian and Muslim cultures, has to a great extent been a blind interface: a border that is at once highly permeable and rigidly impenetrable.

5 The tendency to approach Europe’s relationship with Muslim cultures as a tabula rasa is by no means confined to nescience of the cultural exchanges of the early Middle Ages. Despite recurrent periods of close contact, including diplomatic, mercantile, and cultural exchanges between Europeans and Ottoman Turks (roughly 1299 to 1922), and the hierarchical but also closeknit relations that ensued from the European colonial occupation of North Africa and the Middle East (roughly 1830 to 1962), Europeans have consistently regarded Muslims, not as their perennial neighbours, but as unfamiliar strangers.

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