Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Course Redesign Update: May 14, my beloved Arabian Nights

I just did a half-day today since (knock on wood) I am staying very nicely on schedule so far. And I spent that half-day doing something that was a total pleasure for me: adding reading notes to the Arabian Nights unit. It is one of the best and most influential examples of framed/nested stories in world literature, and I would gladly teach a whole course just on the Nights.

It was hard to come up with a way to present the grandeur of this book in just one reading unit, but I am happy with the results: I chose two different nested stories, and one familiar long story - Aladdin and his lamp (hoping against hope that I might dispel some Disney from people's minds, ha ha). The two nested stories - the merchant is the first, and then the fisherman - exemplify some of the great features of nesting. The merchant's story features a chained accumulation where random people wander into the story and tell stories of their own. The fisherman's story is even better because it has story-within-story that goes pretty deep, along with a good example of story-and-counterstory. Man, I love that book! I spent some time of my life really obsessed with frametales and my own World Literature class (which I no longer teach, alas; there was just not the same need for a lower-division Gen. Ed. class) was built around frametales. It is such a pleasure to be able to have a frametale component in my new version of the Myth-Folklore reading site!

as told by the immortal Scheherazade:

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