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An overview of a night to remember and arabian nights stories

The following entry presents criticism on The Arabian Nights from 1953 through 2002. The Arabian Nights is one of the world's best-known collections of stories.

Although the tales, which were orally transmitted and composed over the course of several centuries, are mainly of Asian and Arabic origin, they have become an inextricable part of the Western cultural heritage as well. The stories of Princess Scheherazade, Aladdin, Sinbad the sailor, and Ali Baba, for example, are firmly established in the Western imagination.

Arabian Nights: The Marvels and Wonders of The Thousand and One Nights

The original collection, comprised of legends, fairytales, romances, and anecdotes, stems from a number of folk traditions and contains motifs and fables from various geographical areas and historical periods.

Since the twentieth century The Arabian Nights have also received serious critical attention and scholars have been almost unanimous in their praise of the way in which these tales transcend cultural and linguistic boundaries.

Textual History Although they are traditionally associated with medieval Arabic culture, the tales of The Arabian Nights are rooted in several oral traditions, containing motifs from a variety of geographic areas and historical periods, including ancient Mesopotamia, India, early medieval Persia and Iraq, and Egypt of the Middle Ages.

Scholars agree that the frame story is most likely of Indian origin. The first identifiable written version of The Arabian Nights is a book of Persian tales called Hazar Afsanah A Thousand Legends, written between 225 and 250translated into Arabic around 850.

The stories underwent considerable modification between the tenth and the sixteenth centuries, kept alive by professional storytellers, who would perform them in coffeehouses all over the Middle East. There is no definitive Arabic textual source of the work, but there are a number of surviving manuscripts containing many of the stories. The first part of his twelve-volume Les mille et une nuits The Thousand and One Nights appeared in 1704.

The manuscript that he used to work from was acquired from Syria and dated from the fourteenth or fifteenth century. Scholars then began searching for a complete original copy of The Arabian Nights, but were unsuccessful. Many European translations appeared based on the four nineteenth-century sources, including those by Dr. Lane 1838-41John Payne 1882-84Richard F.

  1. First, coming from my Western Judeo-Christian upbringing, there were a lot of tales that I knew were references to the Muslim culture, but had no idea what the reference was.
  2. The arabian nights inspired homecoming dance this year was a success we're trying to find some more stories you might like close close modal window email this story 5 responses to homecoming a night to remember. This first tale is the story of the merchant and the demon—a traveling merchant stops to rest and eat, and tosses date pits onto the ground.
  3. The thousand and one nights. Swapping roles as quickly as they swap hats, making light use of the occasional puppet and mixing up the dark side of the stories with bright jewels of comedy, the three ensure that the hour passes in double time.
  4. Ocassional shadow work was introduced into the piece. Many European translations appeared based on the four nineteenth-century sources, including those by Dr.
  5. For those who don't know the tales of 1001 Arabian Nights, Queen Scheherazade has drawn the short straw in being married to Shahryar, a King whose heart-break means he kills his spouses on a daily basis.

Burton 1885Andrew Lang 1898and J. Payne's is considered the first complete translation, and while it is meticulous and includes copious notes that remain valuable to this day, it was heavily expurgated, suppressing any fragment that the translator deemed offensive to Victorian sensibilities.

Burton's translation, in contrast, emphasizes the exoticism and eroticism of the stories. There is still no definitive text of The Arabian Nights, but Muhsin Mahdi's The 1001 Nights Alf Layla wa-Layla from the Earliest Known Sources 1984 and Husain Haddawy's selection of tales 1990 are two English translations that have been widely used by students and scholars since the late twentieth century.

Plot and Major Characters The frame story of The Arabian Nights describes the vindictive fury of King Shahryar who, upon executing his adulterous wife, vows to marry a different virgin every night, only to have her killed the following morning.

Scheherazade, the daughter of the King's vizier, or principal officer of state, takes it upon herself to save the women of the kingdom from Shahryar's wrath, and offers herself as a bride to the King.

An overview of a night to remember and arabian nights stories

The vizier, her father, tells Scheherazade two stories to try to convince her to change her mind—these are substories within the frame story—but she remains unconvinced and marries the King. With the help of her younger sister, Dunyazade, she obtains the King's permission to tell him a story just as their wedding night is about to end.

This first tale is the story of the merchant and the demon—a traveling merchant stops to rest and eat, and tosses date pits onto the ground. An old demon appears and tells the merchant that he must kill him because the date pits the merchant tossed away struck the demon's son and killed him.

The merchant pleads with the demon for his life. The parallels between this story and the fate of Scheherazade are obvious, as both the merchant and the young bride are to be killed despite being innocent of any crime. The story remains unfinished at daybreak, when the King must rise and attend to the affairs of state; his curiosity piqued, Shahryar resolves to postpone Scheherazade execution so he can hear the end of the story. But the following night only brings another tantalizing fragment, and the King postpones his wife's execution yet again.

What follows is a series of interlocking stories that cover a vast array of subjects. The tales have a deeply nested structure, with stories within stories within stories. They vary in length greatly, the shortest being around 700 words and the longest, the tale of Aladdin and his magical lamp, being nearly 40,000 words. The hundreds of fairytales, legends, romances, fables, anecdotes, and other fictions include, among other tales, the discovery of the unearthly City of Brass, Abu Hassan's waking dreams, the bizarre peregrinations of Sinbad the sailor, Ali Baba's dangerous and tempting encounter with the forty thieves, Aladdin's entry into the world of magic, the insomniac caliph Harun al-Rashid's wanderings throughout Baghdad, and many others.

The stories and their connective narrative threads constitute an entire universe of human experience. The king eventually falls under the spell of Scheherazade storytelling magic and, fascinated by her seemingly an overview of a night to remember and arabian nights stories fund of tales abounding in fantastic events and breathtaking denouements, willingly spares her life and accepts her as his queen.

Major Themes Critics point out that the stories in The Arabian Nights deal with many fundamental questions about human life and experience. They address universal concerns such as love, death, happiness, fate, and immortality in a manner that transcends linguistic and cultural boundaries.

They also cover spiritual matters, exploring questions about how to live in a world that contains both good and evil, with these opposites represented by various characters, such as tyrannical and kind rulers, magicians and witches, good and bad demons, and so on.

In addition, the stories also address matters such as the relationship between the sexes, the inevitability of human desire, and the quest for spiritual perfection.

The frame story of Scheherazade immediately introduces important themes of power, gender, justice, forgiveness, and the ability of art to transform beliefs and vanquish death.

  1. She is known to have told 1,001 in total and Story Pocket Theatre execute a handful of their top picks featuring forty thieves, a fisherman, a little beggar, Aladin, and finally her own, yet to be completed account. Their acting and singing skills were very impressive and the audience was captivated throughout, with whoops and cheers of applause at the conclusion of the show.
  2. Yasmin Goodwin and William Forde take on the roles of a storyteller Sherazade and her husband the Sultan, while also multi-roling as various characters in Sherazade's stories. In contrast to the attitude of literary critics, the tales were well received by many Western poets, especially during the Romantic period.
  3. The king eventually falls under the spell of Scheherazade storytelling magic and, fascinated by her seemingly inexhaustible fund of tales abounding in fantastic events and breathtaking denouements, willingly spares her life and accepts her as his queen. They were fantastically animated and passionate with their portrayals of the various characters they embodied.
  4. The stories told are a little darker than I expected as most involve some form of murder. Each evening she tells a story, leaving it incomplete and promising to finish it the following night.

Many of these themes are also developed in subsequent tales. Although The Arabian Nights covers a vast array of themes and subjects, the concept of power is particularly prominent throughout the tales. The depiction of the awesome might of rulers who hold absolute power, and the effects of such control are often highlighted. Another focus of the tales is the strength of women—many are represented in the tales as slaves and concubines who must obey the men who own them, and yet display incredible strength in overcoming adversity.

Scheherazade is the most striking example of this type of figure. Notions of justice and forgiveness are also explored in many stories, with good eventually overcoming evil. Again, this theme is first developed in the frame story, as the king finally understands the true meaning of justice.

The theme of the transforming power of art is also most obvious in the frame story as King Shahryar, entranced by his wife's tales, in the end understands forgiveness, justice, and humanity.

Their long history of transmission and development over the course of centuries are a testament to their enduring appeal.

The Thousand and One Nights

However, while the work has been an integral part of the cultural landscape of that region, it has not always enjoyed the status of high art. Arabic scholars also viewed the tales as mere popular fiction, unworthy of inclusion in the canon of classical Arabic literature. Early Western scholars also objected to what they perceived as the immoral beliefs and behavior of the Islamic characters in the tales. In contrast to the attitude of literary critics, the tales were well received by many Western poets, especially during the Romantic period.

Writers such as Goethe, Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and Edgar Allan Poe saw the collection as a work of unique imaginative power, and the tales were deeply influential on their thinking and work. They also gripped the popular European imagination, spawning a number of pseudo-Oriental works that depicted a highly extravagant, sensual, exotic East. In the twentieth century the stories also began to receive serious and systematic critical attention.

With the advent of interdisciplinary criticism, the tales of The Arabian Nights began to be studied by scholars from a variety of fields, including anthropology, linguistics, psychology, and literary theory. Modern scholars have extolled the ability of the tales to address, in accessible form, universal concerns ranging from love, death, and happiness to fate and immortality.

Kelly Apter, The Scotsman, 23 August 2014

It has been noted that the stories are of particular value for modern life because of the insights they provide into the individual's struggle with overpowering and frequently incomprehensible forces. A psychological analysis of the tales has pointed out that the stories speak to the unconscious and enable the individual to transform destructive impulses into harmless fantasies.

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Late-twentieth-century analyses of The Arabian Nights have focused more heavily on the manuscript history of the tales, their structure and narrative technique, the influence of classical European traditions on the stories, and their impact on Western literature and culture.

Scholars continue to investigate the history and development of the work, regarding it as a complex text that is deserving of detailed textual and critical analysis. This commentary has taken a number of forms, including feminist, deconstructionist, and poststructuralist analysis.

The Arabian Nights - Essay

In terms of popular appeal, the stories of The Arabian Nights remain some of the most recognizable in all of literature. A number of stories from the collection have been adapted for the screen and collections of the stories continue to appeal to young and old audiences, having become part of the collective imagination not only of the cultures from which the stories originally emerged, but of people all over the world.