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Recounts the history and origins of the "Arabian Nights," discusses its major themes, and looks at its infuence on Western literature
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Robert Irwin taught Medieval History at the University of St. Andrews.From Kirkus Reviews:
Matching The Arabian Nights' scope and enchantment with erudition and wit, Irwin (The Arabian Nightmare, 1987) explores its elusive kingdom of stories, delving into the vast work's textual genesis, cultural history, and literary legacy. The most influential book in the Western canon that does not actually belong to it, The Arabian Nights never enjoyed the same literary status in the East, and its origins have been made only murkier by its reception in Europe. Irwin begins with the translators who popularized the Nights and, along the way, bowdlerized and warped it, or even inserted their own episodes. Most famously, Aladdin, who has no Arabic version predating his appearance in 18th-century France, may well have been the creation of translator Antoine Galland, not of Scheherazade. Irwin wryly glosses these early translations, which distortedly mirror the original Eastern exoticism with the reflections of their age's prejudices and their translators' personal eccentricities (notably the lexical, racial, and sexual obsessions of the Victorian adventurer Sir Richard Burton). The earlier Arabic compilations are no more reliable, however--Irwin devotes a separate chapter to forerunners (conjectural or lost) over several centuries, from India to Persia and Egypt. In a quixotic effort to amass 1,001 actual tales, these medieval compilers would incorporate local legends and real settings, sometimes approaching souk storytellers as sources. Throughout, Irwin's scholarly acumen illuminates these myriad worlds of the Nights, whether the cityscapes of the Mamelukes, the urban rogues' gallery of thieves and bazaar magicians, or the marvels of jinn and clockwork birds. The longest chapter is a selected roster of its literary heirs, from nursery fables and gothic novels through Proust, Joyce, and Borges, to contemporaries like Salman Rushdie and John Barth. An enchanting dragoman and chaperon for sleepless nights with Scheherazade. -- Copyright ©1994, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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Book Description Allen Lane, London, 1994. Hard Cover. Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. First Edition, First Printing. This is a new hardcover first London edition, first printing copy in a new mylar protected DJ, cream spine. Size: 8vo - over 7¾" - 9¾" tall. Seller Inventory # 086270
Book Description Allen Lane, 1994. Hardcover. Condition: BRAND NEW. Seller Inventory # 0713991054_abe_bn
Book Description Viking Adult, 1994. Hardcover. Condition: New. Seller Inventory # DADAX0713991054
Book Description Allen Lane, London, U.K, 1994. Cloth. Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. First Edition. Size: 8vo - over 7¾" - 9¾" tall. Hardback. Seller Inventory # 023452
Book Description Viking, 1994. Hardcover. Condition: New. Brand New!. Seller Inventory # VIB0713991054
Book Description Viking. Condition: new. Seller Inventory # think0713991054
Book Description Condition: New. New. Seller Inventory # EX-0713991054
Book Description Condition: New. New. Seller Inventory # S-0713991054
Book Description Viking, 1994. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M0713991054