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Playing for Time: One Thousand and One Nights
September 27, 2023 @ 10:00 am - 11:30 am
One Thousand and One Nights is a work made of and by translation. The earliest Arabic fragments are already translations of an earlier Persian work, which borrowed in turn from stories of ancient India. The Arabic text itself is not stable: many different versions have proliferated over the centuries. The work’s authors are unknown, but its translators (a “hostile dynasty”, in Borges’ phrase) have made frequent and dramatic authorial interventions. Yasmine Seale will discuss the layered history of the Nights and how to approach a text which seems to defy the very idea of an “original”.