The 1001 Nights as World Literature: Cultural Appropriation and Collaboration

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The 1001 Nights has often been seen as the epitome of world literature, circulating outside its culture of origin and gaining in translation; yet scholars are only now beginning to understand the precise status of the story collection in its original cultural contexts and the term of its production as world literature in European letters. According to received wisdom, the tales of The 1001 Nights were not a significant part of Arabic literary production, and only though Antoine Galland's French translation did the collection enter world letters. The French and English translators of The 1001 Nights, famously admired Jorge Luis Borges, are often cited as the veritable authors of the story collection as Weltliteratur. Recent research, however, shows an original internationalization of the tales in their ninth‐century passage from Persian to Arabic. And it reveals that Galland's famous version has an overlooked co‐author, the Syrian storyteller Hanna Diyab.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationA Companion to World Literature
EditorsKen Seigneurie
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9781118635193
ISBN (Print)9781118993187
StatePublished - Jan 10 2020


  • Circulation
  • cultural adaptation
  • Cultural comparison
  • Feminism
  • Imperialism
  • Merchants' tales
  • foklore
  • Middle Eastern literature
  • translation
  • Literature


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