Does anyone know any articles or books that deal with the Nights as a specifically subversive text?
I think this angle is really interesting. The Nights are so different from say Masudi's Meadows of Gold in that Masudi would never portray a leader in a truly negative light or have a leader get duped or tricked or lose their kingdom due to dumb luck or fate (there would always be an earthly reason).
Likewise the Nights is a sexually subversive text, people seem to be fairly open sexually and go with their desires even when it leads to their demise.
It's also interesting because the 1001 Nights is so popular in the West, particularly in its children-friendly format, which I find to be really interesting as well. It's as if someone decided Pasolini's "Salo" had some interesting aspects in it which (if you took out all the bad stuff) would make a great book for children. The history of the Nights is all about repressing this sexual side of the Nights as well, and yet it is this sexual side that is really at the core of the Nights' identity.