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The Arabian Nights in Historical ContextBetween East and West$
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Saree Makdisi and Felicity Nussbaum

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780199554157

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199554157.001.0001

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The Arabian Nights and the Contemporary Arabic Novel *

The Arabian Nights and the Contemporary Arabic Novel *

Chapter:
(p.297) 12 The Arabian Nights and the Contemporary Arabic Novel*
Source:
The Arabian Nights in Historical Context
Author(s):

Maher Jarrar

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199554157.003.0013

The Arabian Nights in contemporary Arabic fiction circulates to Asia, Africa, and Latin America only to return again to its Eastern roots. The chapter provides a taxonomy of these adaptations, including the interplay of story cycles and motifs, the invention of “new” nights, and the reworking of narrative techniques in specific novels written in Arabic. The influence of magical realism, especially in the works of Jorge Luis Borges and Gabriel García Márquez, on the Arabic novel has been pronounced, principally by way of the Nights' reception in Latin America. Transformed by the often transgressive political nature of magical realism, some Arabic novelists have found in the Nights a pre-text for a counter-narrative that protests against colonialism. The novels reveal the text's circular return to the Arab world after centuries of translation into European languages, Crossfertilized with folklore, the Arabian Nights are ironically given the shape—albeit thoroughly re-imagined—of the European novel.

Keywords:   Arabic novel, novel, Borges, Márquez, magical realism, colonialism, cycle, translation, narrative, adaptation

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