Friday, December 5, 2008

Breaking Wind

How Abu Hassan Brake Wind - I read somewhere and need to re-find it, I think in Robert Irwin's book on the Nights or an article, that this story's first appearance was in Burton's edition and no previous mention of it or version before Burton has ever been found, in Arabic or any other language.

It's a great Burton-esque guy/teenage boy story about a groom who has gas at the wrong time and has to run away from his country because of his shame.

What is really funny about it is that Dawood includes it in his Penguin English version of the Nights, after bashing Burton in his introduction...

Here's a mention of the story being turned into a joke about the Queen herself (maybe a true story - or common English joke - that Burton picked up and turned into an "Arabian Night"??):

There is a nod to The Arabian Nights, but even this is slight, and comes through an English joke told by John Aubrey: "[The] Earle of Oxford, making of his low obeisance to Queen Elizabeth, happened to let a Fart, at which he was so abashed and ashamed that he went to Travell, 7 yeares. On his returne the Queen welcomed him home, and sayd, My Lord, I had forgott the Fart." This, Holt remarks, makes an even earlier appearance in the story "How Abu Hassan Brake Wind".

- The article this is taken from is a review of this recently released book:

Stop Me If You've Heard This: a History and Philosophy of Jokes
Jim Holt - Profile Books

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