9:30 am to 12:30 pm
While The Thousand and One Nights is best known by a few of its often-adapted stories, it as an extremely varied and rich corpus of themes, structures, and genres that have provided a source for authors as varied as Voltaire, Jorge Luis Borges, and Edgar Allen Poe. It is also, for better and for worse, the source of many popular images of the Middle East. This course will explore the history of the text’s transnational composition and circulation–from its evolution in Arabic oral and manuscript traditions to its eighteenth-century “discovery” and translation into European language–that have made it a quintessential example of world literature. Reading examples from the story collection against its modern-day “children,” we will encounter the ways that the Nights has been used in East and West as a vehicle for narrative structures, literary themes, political allegories, and feminist debates.