Marina Warner

Scheherazade’s Children. Global Encounters with the Arabian Nights

Non-Fiction Monograph

Edited By Philip F. Kennedy and Marina Warner

NYU Press, Nov 2013

Scheherazade’s Children gathers together leading scholars to explore the reverberations of the tales of the Arabian Nights across a startlingly wide and transnational range of cultural endeavors. The contributors, drawn from a wide array of disciplines, extend their inquiries into the book’s metamorphoses on stage and screen as well as in literature—from India to Japan, from Sanskrit mythology to British pantomime, from Baroque opera to puppet shows. Their highly original research illuminates little-known manifestations of the Nights, and provides unexpected contexts for understanding the book’s complex history. Polemical issues are thereby given unprecedented and enlightening interpretations.

Organized under the rubrics of Translating, Engaging, and Staging, these essays view the Nights corpus as a uniquely accretive cultural bundle that absorbs the works upon which it has exerted influence. In this view, the Arabian Nights is a dynamic, living and breathing cross-cultural phenomenon that has left its mark on fields as disparate as the European novel and early Indian cinema. While scholarly, the writers’ approach is also lively and entertaining, and the book is richly illustrated with unusual materials to deliver a sparkling and highly original exploration of the Arabian Nights’ radiating influence on world literature, performance, and culture.


"The Arabian Nights as much as any work created the category now known as 'world literature.' The lively and lucid essays in Scheherazade's Children explore the fascination and influence The Nights have exerted in various cultures and the book's sometimes surprising and often amusing metamorphoses."

Daniel Beaumont, author of Slave of Desire: Sex, Love, and Death in the 1001 Night

"The two editors, both of them well established figures in their relative fields, have done excellent work in producing a volume that has its own internal logic… The contributions to this volume are all, by any yardstick one may wish to apply, superb essays in cultural studies, and, in many cases comparative literature studies. A distinguished contribution to Arabian Nights studies."

Roger Allen, University of Pennsylvania

"Beautifully illustrated, this title concludes with a list of the stories, their translations, and adaptations. Though the essays take up academic subjects, they are accessible to general readers."

Library Journal

"These scrupulously documented essays justify study of the Nights as 'one of the wellsprings of World Literature' that continues to draw readers, scholars, translators, and artists into a theatrical, imaginary land, which, like the narrator herself, casts an entrancing spell and proves inexhaustible in meanings, 'blending cultural specificities into one vast Prient of the mind.'"

Publishers Weekly

"The extensive examination of the different translation of the Nights is impressive and illuminating.. This volume will enchant readers across all disciplines...Highly recommended."

A.S. Jawad, Duke University reviewed in Choice, April 2014

First published by New York University Press, 2013