The Arabian Nights and its Afterlives: Yasmine Seale in Conversation
The Arabian Nights (or, in Arabic, Alf Layla wa Layla, “One Thousand and One Nights”) is a cornerstone of world literature. A collection of love stories, tragedies, comedies, poems, and erotica, the Arabian Nights has captivated listeners and readers for centuries, and been a source of inspiration to countless major writers, from Goethe to Edgar Allan Poe, Jorge Louis Borges, Marcel Proust, Italo Calvino, Angela Carter, and beyond. It’s also, particularly in its many Western adaptations, a frequent source of “orientalist” lore—of despots, superstition, and sybaritic debauchery. A new translation, rendered by the poet Yasmine Seale, gives occasion to ask: How can we understand the Arabian Nights (its very name a Western mistranslation)—as literature, as history, and as a cultural and political object? How do we read with its poetry, and against its exoticization?
Join us Tuesday, November 23rd, as BISR faculty Rebecca Ariel Porte, Suzanne Schneider, and Ajay Singh Chaudhary welcome poet and translator Yasmine Seale for a wide-ranging discussion of the aesthetics, poetics, and politics of the Arabian Nights. In a multi-part event, with readings, interview, and panel conversation, we will ask: What is the history of the Arabian Nights? How does it figure in the traditions of Persian and Arabic storytelling? What explains its enthusiastic European reception, coincidental with the dawn of modern Western imperialism? How do the tales treat and speak to questions of gender, power, and sexuality? Why has the Arabian Nights proved so fertile a source of inspiration to modern writers of nearly all cultures? Does it validate or problematize pan-cultural, universalist notions of a so-called world literature?
The Arabian Nights and Its Afterlives is free to attend and will stream live to the BISR public Facebook page. To receive any updates and a reminder, please RSVP below.
Event ScheduleTuesday, 1:00pm
November 23, 2021
Event is over. Check out our upcoming events.