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4 - The “Hostile Dynasty”

Rewriting the Arabian 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 4 goes along with Borges’s reading of a dynastic translational spectrum of anxieties. A forum for discussion initiated by Galland has been involving a worldwide cultural scene with anxieties that are expressed in reeditions, abridgments, authentication processes, claims to fidelity to an original, though disputed, text, and unexpurgated or collated editions. The discussions erupted since the advent of Galland’s Thousand and One Nights set the scene on fire: accusations and counter charges over three centuries signify the existence of the Nights in world culture as a knowledge consortium that brings on board theories of translation, cultural interventions, and conversations and discussions among the most prominent intellectuals, artists, and fiction writers. Illustrators, film industry producers and directors have been participating in this dynasty, simply because they are part of one translation or another, though on certain occasions they stand on their own. If political dynasties of rulers are often biologically related, the Nights in Europe has its textual dynasty: no translator or editor could ever get free from Galland’s enterprise, not even Muhsin Mahdi who produced Galland’s Arabic manuscript after only portions of it appeared in print early on in the twentieth century. More important is the fact that the Nights was once a platform in the ongoing racial philological divide in language families, Aryan and Semite. New philology found in the Nights a viable means to discuss origins. The divide did not die, and it is reborn in stock images, value judgments, and essentialisms.

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The Arabian Nights in Contemporary World Cultures
Global Commodification, Translation, and the Culture Industry
, pp. 132 - 170
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2021

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  • The “Hostile Dynasty”
  • Muhsin J. al-Musawi, Columbia University, New York
  • Book: The Arabian Nights in Contemporary World Cultures
  • Online publication: 17 August 2021
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108593847.005
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  • The “Hostile Dynasty”
  • Muhsin J. al-Musawi, Columbia University, New York
  • Book: The Arabian Nights in Contemporary World Cultures
  • Online publication: 17 August 2021
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108593847.005
Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • The “Hostile Dynasty”
  • Muhsin J. al-Musawi, Columbia University, New York
  • Book: The Arabian Nights in Contemporary World Cultures
  • Online publication: 17 August 2021
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108593847.005
Available formats
×