Study Guide

The Arabian Nights Criticism

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The Arabian Nights, known as Alf Layla wa Layla in Arabic, although one of the most famous and influential works in English literature, was never regarded by Arabic scholars as a work of literary worth. The tenth-century historian Ali Aboulhusn el Mesoudi, as cited by Joseph Campbell in his introduction to The Portable Arabian Nights, condemned the stories, saying "I have seen the complete work more than once, and it is indeed a vulgar, insipid book." The tales were regarded as lowbrow literature both for their frank and comedic dealings with sexuality and for their form; they were not intricately composed works of literary craftsmanship, but stories passed down orally through the generations; in other words, they were folktales. They were considered vulgar especially in comparison to what was considered high literature in medieval Arabic culture: the adab and the maqama, both of which were highly...

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This section contains 601 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Arabian Nights Study Guide
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The Arabian Nights from Gale. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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