Tales of Dreaming Men Shakespeare, "the Old Hunchback," and "the Sleeper and the Waker

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


From the nineteenth century to the present, scholars and writers have perceived strong parallels between the 1001 Nights and early modern European literary works. The 1001 Nights tale of "The Sleeper and the Waker," has been seen as a source for the frame of Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew (1595). Other scholars are skeptical of the ease with which such analogues are postulated from the vantage point of Weltliteratur, and frequently point to the missing links in speculative chains of transmission. This article examines a variant tale of "The Sleeper and the Waker," found in a Tunisian manuscript of A Hundred and One Nights, to show that divergences between Shakespeare's Christopher Sly and Abu al-Hasan in "The Sleeper and the Waker" reflect distinctive characteristics of the 1001 Nights story collection. Such manuscript discoveries allow scholars to probe the parallels between these tales and the literatures of early modern Europe.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)276-296
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of World Literature
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017


  • 1001 nights
  • Contact zones
  • Merchants' tales
  • Shakespeare

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Literature and Literary Theory


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