Friday, March 26, 2010

Salman Rushdie on "Fictionality"

Here's a brief lecture/interview with Salman Rushdie from Emory University. Rushdie has used the Nights motif and stories in many of his own works and often speaks about the Nights in his many lectures and readings.

In this case, while he backgrounds the Nights in their fictional/story-in-a-story genre, he also makes a point to reference the Nights' origins. This is interesting to me for a number of reasons but namely because of the number of people who "claim" the Nights as "their" own. Here he draws a definitive line from India to Persia (and then to Arabic, he suggests minorly).

I've heard arguments from all three sides (India, Persia/Iran, "Arabic") and they are typically so nationalistic (these stories are from x, y or z). Not sure what to make of it all but it is an interesting and marked topic when the history of the Nights is brought up.

Here Rushdie is clearly marking his territory and his authority by situating the Nights in his own personal "ethnic" background.

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