UC San Diego
Bound infinities : Scheherazade's moral matrix of the 1001 nights
- Author(s): Lundell, Michael James
- et al.
"Bound Infinities : Scheherazade's Moral Matrix of The 1001 Nights" is the first study that positions the multiple variants of the Nights as separate texts, and ones that should be treated in literary studies as such. This is an important notion because the Nights has long been seen as one insufficiently defined work of literature. By researching each variant on its own merits much more literary and cultural history is revealed, and new, richer understandings of postcolonial, translation and semiotic studies are highlighted. This dissertation looks through the lens of the Nights via an examination of the oldest "G-manuscript" of the Nights and its sexualized contents, paratextual amendments of the European Nights of the 19th century by Edward Lane and Richard Burton, fantastical elements of the Nights of the 18th century Galland version and its English translation known as "Grub Street", film versions of the Nights of the 20th century, and orientalist and postcolonial theory. I argue, in part, that orientalism has been so often misapplied to the Nights that it has wrongly embedded it into a discourse that obscures its identity. I end with an examination of a modernist "version" of the Nights : James Joyce's Ulysses. My overall intent is to clarify what the Nights is, detach it from misapplied orientalist discourse, and to demand an elucidation in future Nights studies that specific versions and their idiosyncratic identities are addressed as a primary focus of any study involving the Nights. The study intersects with semiotics, cognitive linguistics, film studies, translation studies, psychoanalysis and postcolonial theory but its main goal is to resituate the Nights into a truly transnational context unfettered by a culturally embedded identity