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The Arabian Nights: Medieval Fantasy and Modern Forgery

The Arabian Nights: Medieval Fantasy and Modern Forgery


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The Arabian Nights: Medieval Fantasy and Modern Forgery

Lecture by Paul Cobb

Given at Penn Museum on June 1, 2016

The Arabian Nights is probably the medieval Arabic book best known in the west, full of ripping yarns and vivid characters that have influenced film, music, and literature for centuries. But did you know that some of its most cherished tales, such as those of Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves, Sindbad, and even Aladdin, were added by modern European translators? Dr. Cobb offers a walkthrough of the fascinating history of this rambling book from its origins in ancient Middle Eastern myths to its status as European bestseller during the Enlightenment.

Paul Cobb is Professor of Islamic History at the University of Pennsylvania. .

Top Image: An episode from the 5th voyage of Sinbad the Sailor in the “One Thousand and One Nights”. Illustration from “Les Mille et une nuits”, par Galland – Paris, 1865


Watch the video: A Tale of 1001 Nights. sultana. Scheherazade. Our House of Arts (June 2022).


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