Cultivating the Garden: Antoine Galland's Arabian Nights in the Traditions of English Literature
Beginning with a brief recapitulation of the manner in which marathon readings of literary works in recent years have reflected both the popularity and the cultural status of various authors and their writings, the chapter moves on to examine the sustained popularity of the Arabian Nights in the traditions of European literature. More particularly, the language used within the assessments of two very different authors—from two very different periods (namely, Elliot Warburton and A.S. Byatt)—allows the opportunity more carefully to gauge the manner in which the Nights has presented both a challenge to and a resource for European authors. The Nights is at one and the same time a text the sheer overabundance and sensual excess of which demands that it be somehow pruned, contained, or restricted (lest its verdant growth overwhelm more native species of creative endeavor), whilst its rich narrative potential, on the other hand, seems persistently and insistently to demand further exploration and elaboration.
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