Scheherazade's Children: Global Encounters with the Arabian Nights

Scheherazade's Children: Global Encounters with the Arabian Nights

Scheherazade's Children: Global Encounters with the Arabian Nights

Scheherazade's Children: Global Encounters with the Arabian Nights

Synopsis

Scheherazade's Children gathers together leading scholars to explore the reverberations of the Arabian Nights tales across a startlingly wide and transnational range of cultural endeavors. The contributors, drawn from a wide array of disciplines, extend their inquiries into the book's metamorphoses on stage and screen as well as in literature--from India to Japan, from Sanskrit mythology to British pantomime, from Baroque opera to puppet shows. Their highly original research illuminates little-known manifestations of the Nights, and provides unexpected contexts for understanding the book's complex history. Polemical issues are thereby given unprecedented and enlightening interpretations. Organized under the rubrics of Translating, Engaging, and Staging, these essays view the Nights corpus as a uniquely accretive cultural bundle that absorbs the works upon which it has exerted influence. In this view, the Arabian Nights is a dynamic, living and breathing cross-cultural phenomenon that has left its mark on fields as disparate as the European novel and early Indian cinema. While scholarly, the writers' approach is also lively and entertaining, and the book is richly illustrated with unusual materials to deliver a sparkling and highly original exploration of the Arabian Nights' radiating influence on world literature, performance, and culture. Philip F. Kennedy is Associate Professor of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies and Comparative Literature at New York University, and Vice Provost for Public Programming for the NYU Abu Dhabi Institute. Marina Warner is Professor of Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies at the University of Essex and Fellow of the British Academy. Her most recent book, Stranger Magic: Charmed States and the Arabian Nights, won the 2012 National Book Critics Circle Award for Criticism.

Excerpt

Philip F. kennedy and Marina Warner

The year 2009 in Paris was l’année de la Turquie, the Year of Turkey, and many events were held to explore the history and culture of the country. Among them, an exhibition at the Grand Palais, called “De Byzance à Istanbul — Un port pour deux continents” (From Byzantium to Istanbul: a port for two continents), brought many artifacts from the city’s multilayered past and displayed them on two floors. Christianity — Roman and Byzantine Orthodox — occupied the ground floor, Islam the first floor. the imposing staircase symbolized the fateful year of 1453, when the city was taken by the Ottoman Sultan Mehmet I, and the Byzantine Empire, the last representative of the Romans in the East, drew formally to a close.

The year 2009 was also the sixth year of the second Gulf war within eighteen years, the one which began in 2003 with the invasion of Baghdad. the exhibition about the magnificent maritime capital on the Bosphorus was taking place at a particular historical moment. Visiting it could not but be colored by the present context: the French had not joined forces with the Americans, the British, and their many allies in the operations, first called “Shock and Awe” and characterized by the . . .

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