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Arabian Nights: A Companion
     

Arabian Nights: A Companion

by Robert Irwin
 

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The Arabian Nights: A Companion guides the reader into this celebrated labyrinth of storytelling. It traces the development of the stories from prehistoric India and Pharaonic Egypt to modern times. It explores the history of the translation, and explains the ways in which its contents have been added to, plagiarized and imitated. Above all, the book

Overview

The Arabian Nights: A Companion guides the reader into this celebrated labyrinth of storytelling. It traces the development of the stories from prehistoric India and Pharaonic Egypt to modern times. It explores the history of the translation, and explains the ways in which its contents have been added to, plagiarized and imitated. Above all, the book uses the stories as a guide to the social history and the counterculture of the medieval Near East and the world of the storyteller, the snake charmer, the burglar, the sorcerer, the drug addict, the treasure hunter and the adulterer.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
*... an enthralling cascade of the arcane and the exotic.*—Peter Kemp, Sunday Times
*... story after story, wonder upon wonder. This monumental, infinitely faceted gem should be every writer's bedtime sampler.*—Michael Moorcock, New Statesman & Society
*A generous and erudite book...We're in the company of someone who loves The Arabian Nights, and who has generously shared that love with us through this companion.*—Michele Roberts, Independent on Sunday
*Matching The Arabian Nights' scope and enchantment with erudition and wit, Irwin explores its elusive kingdom of stories, delving into the vast work's textual genesis, cultural history, and literary legacy.*—Kirkus Reviews on 1994 Edition
*Superlative...just the sort of relaxed, informative book that Edumund Wilson might have written had he grown interested in the Middle East and its early literature.*—Michael Dirda, Washington Post
Library Journal
In this learned and exotic companion to the Arabian Nights, Irwin, a novelist and the author of The Middle East in the Middle Ages (Southern Illinois Univ. Pr., 1986), provides a history of its origins, translations, and textual editors; a treatment of the various literary approaches to the text (structuralist, folklorist, etc.); and insight into the work as social history. Irwin has, admittedly, concentrated on the "seedy and bizarre" aspects of the tales, asserting that the Arabic world of criminals, sorcerers, drug-takers, and adulterers is far less known than the edifying world of miracle-working holy men and sages. Though the Arab world long viewed the Nights as folk literature, in the West it has continued to exert enormous influence on diverse writers, giving way, only in the 20th century, to its rival genres, science fiction and fantasy. Irwin's soundly researched and provocative work is highly recommended for academics and interested readers of Arabic social history and literature.-Marie L. Lally, Alabama Sch. of Mathematics & Science, Mobile

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781860649837
Publisher:
I. B.Tauris & Company, Limited
Publication date:
01/17/2004
Series:
Tauris Parke Paperbacks Series
Edition description:
Revised Edition
Pages:
344
Sales rank:
809,432
Product dimensions:
5.17(w) x 7.87(h) x 1.04(d)

Meet the Author

Robert Irwin is the Middle East editor for the Times Literary Supplement and a prolific author.

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