skip to content

Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies

Online webinar
Event date: 
Thursday, 4 March, 2021 - 17:15 to 18:30
Event organiser: 

MES Public Talks Seminar given by Prof. Richard van Leeuwen, University of Amsterdam

Registration for this event

It is gradually being acknowledged that the Arabic story-collection Thousand and One Nights has had a major influence on European and world literature. In this lecture we will examine the influence of the Nights, as an intertextual model, on 20th century prose literature from all over the world. Several authors will be discussed whose work has been crucial in the shaping of the main trends in 20th century literature, such as modernism, magical realism and postmodernism. Several themes and narrative strategies will be examined set in their narratological, literary-historical and political contexts. It will be argued that the case of the Thousand and One Nights represents a quintessential example of the mechanisms of intertextuality and the development of what can be called ‘world literature’.

Richard van Leeuwen (Amsterdam 1955; PhD 1992 University of Amsterdam) is lecturer in Islamic studies at the University of Amsterdam. His main research fields are Middle Eastern history, Arabic literature, the history of orientalism, the Hajj. His publications include Waqfs and urban structures: the case of Ottoman Damascus (Leiden: 1999); The Arabian Nights encyclopedia, 2 vols. (with U. Marzolph; Santa Barbara 2004); The Thousand and one nights: space, travel and transformation (London etc. 2007); Narratives of kingship in Eurasian empires 1300-1800 (Leiden etc. 2017); The Thousand and one Nights in 20th century fiction (Leiden etc. 2018; awarded with the Shaykh Zayed Book Award 2020).



Dr Assef Ashraf: