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

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Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2002 - Art - 190 pages
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"Slave of Desire explores the stories in the anonymous medieval Arabic work The 1001 Nights. The tales that make up The 1001 Nights (also known as The Arabian Nights) are told by Shahrazad to King Shahriyar each night in order to ransom her life for one more day, and they have been recognized as classics of narrative art since their first appearance in European translation three centuries ago. The influence of the Nights since then has also been extensive; the stories of "Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves," "Aladdin," and "Sinbad" have been mined for numerous Hollywood B movies, and at the same time crop up along with other stories and characters as allusions and points of reference in the works of such authors as Proust, Joyce, and Borges." "Slave of Desire, through its analyses of various stories, reveals The 1001 Nights to be a very different sort of work, a sophisticated and subtle piece of literature that can provoke and disturb as much as it entertains and amuses. Daniel Beaumont, a scholar of medieval Arabic literature, draws upon the ideas of Freud, Jacques Lacan, and Slavoj Zizek to explore the meaning of such famous stories as the frame tale of Shahrazad and King Shahriyar, "The Porter and the Three Ladies of Baghdad," "The Hunchback" and many others. He discusses the stories both in the context of medieval Islamic culture and in the wider context of world literature. A famous love story such as "Qamar al-Zaman" is considered both in terms of the medieval Islamic literature of love and Freudian notions; the story of Shahrazad and Shahriyar is probed by means of Kojeve's analysis of the master-slave relation; and the notion of "dream-work" is used to show how "The Merchant and the Jinni" reuses and transforms Biblical plots and characters for a medieval Muslim readership. By means of these and other wide-ranging comparisons with literary works both Arabic and Western, the author reveals surprising, and often amusing, aspects to the stories."--BOOK JACKET.Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

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Alf Laylah wa Laylah or The Thousand and One Nights
King Queen Master Slave

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About the author (2002)

Daniel Beaumont teaches at the University of Rochester where he is Associate Professor of Arabic Language and Literature.

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