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5 - The Archaeology of A Thousand and One Nights

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  17 August 2021

Muhsin J. al-Musawi
Affiliation:
Columbia University, New York
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Summary

Chapter 5 complements the previous chapters in that it argues archaeology in relation to two domains whereby a history of the burgeoning of the Nights in its own lands is laid out in terms of a body of enunciations and statements. A discursive genealogy suggests multiple productions that share only a basal root, that is, the frame tale of the two kings, but not the rest like “The Merchant and the Demon.” The other domain includes early migrations of tales, and the major translational movement established by Galland. Both domains have their histories as effectively giving place “to definite types of discourse … which are related to a whole set of various histories.” In this discursive density, the issue of authorship cannot be visible. It wanes and disappears in large grids of narrative engagements. Furthermore, beginnings cannot be dissociated from a narrative corpus that has its own underlying theoretical bases before the advent of the novel as a bourgeois epic.

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The Arabian Nights in Contemporary World Cultures
Global Commodification, Translation, and the Culture Industry
, pp. 171 - 213
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2021

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