related: bardos   labyrinths   oneironautics
anchors: notes | references | urls


Borges on the Nights

Borges was a great advocate of the Nights and referenced it often both in his fiction, eg. 'The Garden of Forking Paths' (1941), 'The South' (1944) as well as in his essays and lectures, 'When Fiction Lives in Fiction' (1939), 'Translators of the The Thousand and One Nights' (1934-1936), 'The Thousand and One Nights' (1977).

The Imaginative Man who Falls in Love

(When love of the Map takes precedence over love of the Territory!)

Borges writes:

(...) The same is true of the imaginative man who falls in love. The generic (the repeated name, the type, the fatherland, the tantalizing destiny invested in it) takes priority over individual features, which are tolerated only because of their prior genre.

The extreme example -- the person who falls in love by word of mouth -- is very common in the literatures of Persia and Arabia. To hear the description of a queen -- her hair like nights of separation and exile, but her face like a day of delight, her breasts like marble spheres that lend their light to moons, her gait that puts antelopes to shame and is the despair of willow trees, the onerous hips which keep her from rising, her feet, narrow as spearheads -- and to fall in love with her unto tranquility and death is one of the traditional themes of 'The Thousand and One Nights' (...)

(Footnote to 'A History of Eternity'. 1936.)

See, for example, the story of The Unwise Schoolmaster Who Fell in Love by Report (402nd and 403rd Night).


(Primary Literature)

* Burton, Richard

The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night: a Plain and Literal Translation of Arabian Nights Entertainment.

Various editions. The Burton Club editions are normally bound in 16 volumes, 10 volumes of a the tales and 6 volumes (The Supplemental Nights) of orphan stories.

Haddawy, Husain

The Arabian Nights (Everyman's Library).

Ingram: "Haddawy uses Muhsin Mahdi's widely accepted, recent, definitive edition, which is based on the 14th-century Syrian manuscript to form the first serious translation into English in more than a century."

Haddawy, Husain

The Arabian Nights II : Sindbad and Other Popular Stories

(Secondary Literature)

Beaumont, Daniel E.

Slave of Desire: Sex, Love, and Death in the 1001 Nights.

* Borges, Jorges Luis

The Thousand and One Nights. The Georgia Review, Fall 1984, 564-574.

Also found in Seven Nights.

Clot, André

Harun Al-Rashid and the Age of a Thousand and One Nights.

Gerhardt, Mia I.

The Art of Story-Telling: A Literary Study of the Thousand and One Nights. Leiden, 1963.

Ghazoul, Ferial J.

Nocturnal Poetics: The 'Arabian Nights' in Comparative Context. Cairo, The American University in Cairo, 1996.

Irwin, Robert

The Arabian Nights : A Companion.

Mahdi, Muhsin

The Thousand and One Nights. New York, E.J. Brill, 1995.

Marzolph, Ulrich

The Arabian Nights: An Encyclopedia.

* Naddaff, Sandra

Arabesque: Narrative Structure and the Aesthetics of Repetition in the 1001 Nights.

Pinault, David

Story-Telling Techniques in the Arabian Nights.

(Derivative Projects)

Barth, John


Barth, John

The Last Voyage of Somebody the Sailor.

Barth, John

On With the Story.

* Beckford, William

Vathek: An Arabian Tale. 1782.

* Beckford, William

The Episodes of Vathek. 1786.

Byatt, A. S.

The Djinn in the Nightingale's Eye.

Calvino, Italo

If On a Winter's Night a Traveller.

Has, Wojciech

The Saragossa Manuscript. (film) 1965.

Review of The Saragossa Manuscript in the Bright Lights Film Journal.

* Irwin, Robert

The Arabian Nightmare. 1983.

* Mahfouz, Naguib

Arabian Nights and Days.

Meredith, George

The Shaving of Shagpat: An Arabian Entertainment.

Pasolini, Pier Paolo

Arabian Nights. (film).

* Potocki, Jan

The Manuscript Found in Saragossa. 1813.

* Rushdie, Salaman

Haroun and the Sea of Stories. 1990.

Stevenson, Robert Louis

New Arabian Nights. 1882.

Contents: 'The Suicide Club', 'The Rajah's Diamond', 'The Pavilion On The Links', and 'Providence And The Guitar'.

Stevenson, Robert Louis

The Dynamiter. 1885.

Originally titled 'More New Arabian Nights: The Dynamiter'.

Stevenson, Robert Louis

Island Nights' Entertainments. 1893.

Contents: 'The Beach of Falesa', 'The Bottle Imp', 'The Isle of Voices'.


Burton, Richard

The Thousand Nights and a Night.

The complete Burton translation + 'Comparison of the Contents of Various Editions of Arabian Nights' (J. C. Byers).

Greer, Margaret

Who's Telling This Story Anyhow? Framing Tales East and West: Panchatantra to Boccaccio to Zayas.

ALAMUT.COM is artist owned and operated.
Page last modified: 7/9/02.
Mail: current address.