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The "Mansion" and the "Rubbish Mounds:" The Thousand and One Nights in Popular Arabic Tradition

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The purpose of this reading is to assess specific tales in The Thousand and One Nights in the context of the Arabic narrative tradition. While the first sections argue the marginalization of such tales in mainstream criticism, the rest concentrates on the fluctuations in taste for narrative, the reasons behind the expressed fears of the guardians of religion and morality, and the suspicions that were behind the opposition to this kind of narrative. Only two tales are chosen to demonstrate the popular components in the collection, not only because they serve to bridge the gap between an accepted narrative that was admired and collected by the literati in certain periods, but mainly because they have the principal popular properties, as usually argued in current criticism of popular culture.


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