Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE (www.oxfordhandbooks.com). © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 11 December 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines the influence of Alf layla wa layla (A Thousand and One Nights), the ingenious Arabic cycle of stories, on the development of the novel as a literary genre. It shows that the Nights helped shape the European novel in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The chapter first explains how the French translation of the Nights and its popularity in Europe led to its incorporation in world literature, creating an enduring taste for “Orientalism” in many forms. It then considers how the Nights became integrated in modern Arabic literature and how Arabic novels inspired by it were used to criticize social conditions, dictatorial authority, and the lack of freedom of expression. It also discusses the Nights as a source of innovation for the trend of magical realism, as well as its role in the interaction between the Arab world and the West.

Keywords: Alf layla wa layla, A Thousand and One Nights, European novel, world literature, Orientalism, Arabic literature, magical realism, Arab world, Arabic novel

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.