The Adventure Chronotope and the Oriental Xenotrope: Galland, Sheridan, and Joyce Domesticate <i>The Arabian Nights</i>

Srinivas Aravamudan

in The Arabian Nights in Historical Context

Published in print November 2008 | ISBN: 9780199554157
Published online January 2009 | e-ISBN: 9780191720437 | DOI:
The Adventure Chronotope and the Oriental Xenotrope: Galland, Sheridan, and Joyce Domesticate The Arabian Nights

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This article focuses on structuralist and narratological criticism of Oriental adventure to extend our understanding of the reception history of The Arabian Nights in a European context. Using Frances Sheridan's fiction, The History of Nourjahad (1767), as a proof-text, the chapter argues that the 18th-century literary genre system was seriously altered with the advent of the oriental tale into the European canon. This influence is traced through James Joyce's appropriations of Galland's and Burton's translations of The Arabian Nights. Conventional literary history has underplayed the significance of literary Orientalism. A predilection for national realism led to the retroactive rewriting of the history of fiction as substituting psychological interiority and high-realist maturity for immature romance and exotic fantasy. A renewed assessment of 18th-century Orientalism demonstrates the very real limits of literary hierarchies organized around a nationalist paradigm.

Keywords: orientalism; Frances Sheridan; Oriental tale; James Joyce; nationalism; realism; novel; adventure; Ros Ballaster

Chapter.  12031 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (19th Century)

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