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The Thousand and One Nights: Space, Travel and Transformation

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The Thousand and One Nights: Space, Travel and Transformation by van Leeuwen; Richard, 9780415400398
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  • ISBN: 9780415400398 | 0415400392
  • Cover: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 1/18/2007
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In many stories of the well-known masterpiece of Arabic literature, theThousand and one nights, themes and motifs of space and travel are of essential importance for the structure of the narrative. This volume discusses these themes and shows that they are used not only as a setting in which the story unfolds, but also as the dynamic force which propels the heroes and the story to the final denouement. Richard van Leeuwen argues that a disruption of a spatiotemporal balance represents the main incentive for many of the stories, initiating a series of events meant to restore a form of equilibrium. These events often symbolize a process of transformation, in which the hero has to search for his destined role or strive to attain the object of his desire. In this way, themes of travel are the narrative backbone of stories of various genres including: lovestories in which the lover has to conquer the obstacles which separate him from his beloved, in the spatial settings in whichlove is situated religious stories in which spiritual awakenings are projected on a sacred landscape stories of magic in which supernatural spaces intertwine with the regular world; stories of adventure in which boundaries, body-doubles and moral admonitions determine the narrative structure. The matrix of the spatiotemporal dimension of the stories is provided by the framing story, which explores the interconnections between space, mobility, narrativity and power. The analyses of the stories are based on recent theories of space and narrative and ultimately refer to the function of spatial constructions for narrativity, and vice versa.

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