Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Arabian Nights

I've been reading... I pick it up at irregular intervals, between other readings: Jack Zipes' translation of Arabian Nights. Haven't dipped back into it for many weeks, more obligation than motivation... until I came to the Fisherman and Jinee...

Are there recent psychoanalytic critical studies of these tales?

I did a lazy (make that, a busy man's) search, and didn't find any.

This tale alone, a dream of dreams, is going to keep me dreaming for days.

What makes these stories so ripe for the picking... that everyone has a defined social role in a fixed hierarchical system, and the roles are screamingly allegorical... but you can't assign simple, fixed compliments to anything, to any character, to the roles they represent.

The very heart of all these stories--reflected in the framing device--is the unfixed element X. From within the most deterministic of the monotheistic systems, we have this extraordinary interlocking series of stories, where the single most recurrent motif, is the enigmatic X at the heart of every narrative, the indeterminate X. It's where all the Jinns et all come into play (what we call "magical realism".. god how I hate that term!)

This is the best way to read the incommensurate X at the heart of the J narratives, as Bloom has claimed.

Blake had it right. "Religion" is invented by those who don't know how to read--a failure of imagination.

I think we should include in that class, not just the usual fundies... but Hitchins and Dawson and Pinker...

... how did we get to this? So many really smart people, who have no idea how to read?

1 comment:

  1. The stories save our lives. Perhaps this is what keeps us from Death - that we continue to tell tales, postponing the awful moment. -- Will