Arabian Nights Tales: Written, Read, Told, and Re-Told by Hannā Diyāb

Ruth B. Bottigheimer (Stony Brook University)

“Aladdin,” “Ali Baba,” and other Hannā Diyāb-told “orphan tales” -- new to the Arabian Nights -- were ascribed to an undocumented Arabic oral narrative tradition. Long central to Nights scholarship, this hypothesis is being challenged from the geographic and scholarly periphery: motif analysis has demonstrated significant commonalties between Diyāb’s “orphan tales” and European fairy tales, and structural analysis of “orphan tales” has strengthened the hypothesized connection. Recent translations of Diyāb’s travel memoir containing additional, datable, Diyāb narratives further support the thesis that Diyāb’s Nights tales drew heavily on Western sources.

Part of 09-06 Exploring Folklore and Literature, Saturday, October 15, 2:30 pm–4:30 pm