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Cultural Encounters with the Arabian Nights in Nineteenth-Century Britain$
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Melissa Dickson

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781474443647

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474443647.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM EDINBURGH SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.edinburgh.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Edinburgh University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ESO for personal use.date: 27 July 2021

Underground Palaces and Castles in the Air: The Realms and Ruins of the Arabian Nights

Underground Palaces and Castles in the Air: The Realms and Ruins of the Arabian Nights

Chapter:
(p.61) Chapter 2 Underground Palaces and Castles in the Air: The Realms and Ruins of the Arabian Nights
Source:
Cultural Encounters with the Arabian Nights in Nineteenth-Century Britain
Author(s):

Melissa Dickson

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9781474443647.003.0003

Chapter 2 explores the use of the Arabian Nights as a familiar cultural narrative through which the burgeoning practices of archaeology, geology, geography and ethnography might be communicated. In this period, the imaginary voyage and adventures of the Arabian Nights, known since childhood, profoundly interacted with actual voyages above and below the ground, providing a narrative template for approaching new experiences that was already familiar to British readers. At the same time, this narrative strategy infused those emergent sciences with an enduring form of magic, or magical thinking, in the adult world, which informed processes of thinking about the physical laws of nature, the elements that comprise the globe, and new technological developments of the period. The magical possibilities and treasures of the Arabian Nights held an irresistible fascination for Western readers, who did not want to relinquish fully to the emergent discipline of science the potential meanings and possibilities of Eastern exploration.

Keywords:   Travel Writing, Science Writing, Literary Allusion, Memory, Archaeology, Austen Henry Layard, William Lane

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