Sessions 14-15: Thousand and One NightsCLCS 1101 – Classics of World LiteratureProfessor Christopher BonnerOctober 15 and 17, 2018
Agenda1- Context: The Story of the 1001 Nights2- A Storytelling Machine: the Infinite Stories of the Nights3- Shahrazad as character and narrator4- Layers of Narrative5- Why we tell stories
1- Context: Expansion of IslamRed- Islamic Caliphate under Muhammad, 622-632; Orange- Rashidun caliphate, 632-641;Yellow- Umayyad caliphate, 661-750•Spread of the Arabic language•Spread of literacy and book culture•Paper introduced from China ~750 AD•Commerce and trade between different parts of the world: •Contact with China, Christian Europe, Central Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa, India•Flourishing of science, mathematics, philosophy•Preservation of and advancement upon ancient Greek tradition•Advances in medicine, astronomy, chemistry
1- Context: Abbasid Caliphate, 750 -1268 CEBaghdad founded 8thc. CE as Abbasid capital; flourishes under caliph Harun al-Rashid (786-809)
1- Context: Abbasid BaghdadThe Round CityScholars in a Baghdad library, 13thc.Bayt al-Malik, The House of Wisdom, 8thc. Physicians learning a surgical procedure, 11thc.
1- Context: Origins of the NightsWritten by many authors over centuries, across the Middle East10thcentury CE: * A Baghdad book merchant, Ibn al-Nadim, mentions a collection of tales of “Shahrazad,” adapted from from a Persian text, Hazar Afsan, or Thousand Tales* Writer al-Masudi gives the collection its name, Alf Layla, or Thousand Nights14th century CE: •Earliest complete Arabic manuscript composed in Syria w title Alf Layla wa-Layla, Thousand and One Nights
1– Context: Versions of the NightsTWO main manuscript traditions (“recensions”) in Arabic: Syrian and EgyptianSyrian recension: much older manuscripts, more fragmentary, shorter, fewer talesEgyptian recension: later texts, much more varied in content, many originally independent tales integrated into the collection over centuries, up to 18th-19thcentury; it really has 1001 tales! •”Core” stories found in both traditions: The Merchant and the Demon.•The Fisherman and the Jinni•The Story of the Porter and the Three Ladies.•The Hunchback cycle.•The Story of the Three Apples, •The Story of Nur al-Din Ali and Anis al-Jalis•The Story of Ali Ibn Baqqar and Shams al-Nahar, and•The Story of Qamar al-Zaman.
1- Context: Translating the NightsAntoine Galland First known European translation: 1701-1706, (Fr.) ;(Syrian original)* immediately captures European imagination; * Galland adds several stories he claims to have heard from Syrian storytellers: -- “Aladdin”, -- Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves,” -- “The Seven Voyages of Sindbad the Sailor”Edward Lane’s translation (1838-1840) (Egyptian original) •Traveled to Egypt dressed as a Turk•Compiled an Arabic-English LexiconSir Richard Burton translation (1885) •The Book of the Thousand Nights and a NightEdward Lane in “Turkish costume”1711 edition of Galland’s translation
1- Context: OrientalismGerome, The Snake Charmer (1880) Disney’sAladdin