The analysis/evaluation bit of the presentation was cut short today (apologies). Here are some of the notes and some things to think about, which were meant to be in the discussion.
Naddaff, along with Pinault and Todorov, approach 1001 Nights from a certain narratological perspective, taking into account the nature of the material (structure, textual correspondences, and metaphoric strategies).
- Todorov suggests that every narrative is an “illustration of character.” And he defines character as a potential story that is the story of his life. Todorov suggests that we are in the realm of narrative men. Naddaff would contest this ideology because, with the exception of the important opening/closing frames of the text, the dominant and en-framing narrative voice is that of a woman (In Porter).
Narrative is what wins attention from another, not the events within the stories themselves – it’s in how you tell it. If you don’t connect, then you disappear like the porter.
- Naddaff believes readers’ need the original language to get depth from the figurative language, to make connections between hearer and listener. Pinault agrees that knowing the language can enhance understanding of word connotations (root s-kh-t) (pg. 510-511). He notes how individual manuscript redactors are employed – and sometimes modified – in ways that are consistent with the themes emphasized in particular versions of a tale. Narrative structure in this diverse collection of stories sheds light on the relationship of the embedded subordinate-narrative to the overarching frame-tale.
- Irwin’s “Street Entertainments” – 2 worlds in terms of class differences. Naddaff discusses these two worlds in terms of speech and gender (literal/figurative, male/female) as Katherine mentioned during the summation today.
- Naddaff compares narrative repetition of the decorative form of arabesque. Arabesque, in Islamic Art, is decoration consisting of “surface decorations bases on rhythmic linear patters of scrolling and interlacing foliage, tendrils or plain lines…” She argues that the goal of both arabesque and narrative repetition and this heightened use of language is to create a counter-realist realm, a virtual reality, beyond the temporal.