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Discuss supernatural elements in Naguib Mahfouz's Arabian Nights and Days and The...

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lauriewin | eNoter

Posted April 12, 2012 at 8:00 PM via web

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Discuss supernatural elements in Naguib Mahfouz's Arabian Nights and Days and The Arabian Nights.

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iklan100 | College Teacher | Valedictorian

Posted September 9, 2012 at 2:35 PM (Answer #1)

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The 'supernatural elements' in Mahfouz's ''Arabian Nights and Days'' do NOT solely, or even significantly revolve around the main framestory of Scheherazade-Sheheryar ( 'borrowed' from the Thousand and One Nights of medieval times); in fact, some of the principal supernatural elements in this elegant little novel by Mahfouz, which forms a fine 'ratification' of his Nobel prize, include, very breifly, the following--some 'shared' with the original 'Alif Laylah wa'al Laylah' and some original elements either magined or borrowed from other sources by the author:

1. Djinns, Ifreets and other supernatural creatures of various types.

2. The Solomonic cycle/s as per Arabic/Quranic  belief , including the Ring, the Bottle from the Sea and the Cap of Invisibilty themes.

3. The mystical/Sufic elements in the book, including of course the frequent 'interventions' of Sheikh al Balkhi; of 'Mad' Abdullah who is born and reborn; the Angel of Death acting out his role amidst hman life andbeing; and so on.

4. Mysterious happenings not directly related to interference in human affairs by the Djinn, but by some other agency of a divine sort .

5. The Sindbad stories/theme, borrowed from the Alif Laylah and nararted here with added significance/symbolism, especially the 'Rukh' (Roc) incident narrated.

6. The end/conclusion and the supernatural 'transmutation' of the Sultan, and the cycle of life-death-rebirth-transcendence

and so on.


Many critics and scholars in these parts of the word, have opined that this particular work, for all its symbolism and its magical qualities, is ultimately bound to defeat ordinary readers who are not familiar with at least (a) Quranic lore (b) Arabist/Orientalist works such as those written by Edward william Lane , Sir Francis Burton and others, during the 19th century and (c) a fair bit of general knowledge about Arabic/Persian/Islamic societies and culture.

Else, there is every risk of misguiding others via lack of adequate knowledge.

 

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