The Arabian Nights for the 21st Century
Thursday, 24 May 2012 at 18:45 (BST)
Flying carpets, hidden treasures and magic jinns... Why did stories featuring such capricious powers from the medieval Arabic literature of aja'ib (astonishing things) attract readers and audiences in the eighteenth century, the era of Enlightenment, when the Arabian Nights first appeared in print translation? Why is there renewed interest in them in the 21st century?
The stories revealed visions of transformation: the power of the word to bring about change. They create a poetic image of the impossible and an unexpectedly modern parable of knowledge and power. In their ground breaking books, Warner and al Shaykh show how magic, in the deepest sense, helped to create the modern world, and how profoundly it is still inscribed in the way we think today.
Marina Warner, an internationally acclaimed cultural historian, novelist and critic and Hanan al Shaykh, one the contemporary Arab world's most well known writers, will talk magic, myth and the supernatural with Erica Wagner, Literary Editor of The Times.
When & Where
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