1. May, Georges, Les Mille et une nuits d'Antoine Galland, Paris 1986, pp. 8-23.
The Medieval 'Nights'
1. First described by Nabia Abbott in her article "A Ninth-century Fragment of the Thousand Nights": New Light on the Early History of the Arabian Nights", Journal of Near Eastern Studies, 1949, 8:129-164.
2. Al-Mas'ûdî, Murûj adh-dhahab, trans. C Barbier de Meynard, Les prairies d'or, Paris 1861-1877, Vol 4, pp. 89-90.
3. Ibn an-Nadîm, The Fihrist of Ibn an-Nadim, translated by Bayard Dodge. New York 1970, Vol. 2, p. 714.
4. Al-Maqrîzî, Al-Khitat, Cairo, 1854, Vol. 1, p. 484.
5. The similarities were first noted and discussed by Amedroz in his article "A Tale of the Arabian Nights Told as History in the 'Muntazam' of Ibn al-Jawzî" in Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, 1904, pp. 273-293. Muhsin Mahdi has recently discussed them in his book The Thousand and One Nights, in Appendix 3, "From History to Fiction", pp. 164-180.
6. This and other transformations of the madirah plot tell us something of the plasticity of the material in the hands of the medieval storyteller, matters I discuss in an article called "A Mighty and Never Ending Affair," Journal of Arabic Literature, Vol. XXIV, Pt. 2, July 1993, pp. 139-159. One finds other echoes in the Maqamat of al-Hamadhani also: in 'The Hunchback' the barber brings the apparently dead hunchback to life, and in al-Hamadhani's al-Maqâmah am-Mawsilîyah 'The Maqamah of Mosul'; the trickster Abu 'l-Fath comes upon a corpse, and also tells an astonished crowd, "This man is not dead!" He promises to raise him within two days, but at this he fails. The man is dead after all.
7. Al-Khatîb al-Baghdâdî, al-Bukhalâ', Baghdad 1964, p. 148.
8. The Maqâmât are written in a style of rhymed prose peculiar to Arabic known as saj', and are rich in word play and rhetorical tricks.
9. Al-Isfahânî, Al-Aghânî, Bulaq, 1868-69,Vol. 9, p. 131.
10. Al-Ishâqî, 1859, p. 91.
11. In Al-Faraj ba'd ash-shiddah, Cairo 1956, pp. 23-24. I discuss this and other examples in "In the Second Degree: Fictional Technique In Tanukhi's Al-Faraj ba'd ash-shiddah," Journal of Arabic and Middle Eastern Literatures, Vol. 1, No. 2, pp. 125-139.
12. Haddawy, Hussain, The Arabian Nights, New York: Norton, 1990.
13. Haddaway, Hussain, >The Arabian Nights II, New York: Norton, 1995.
14. Called 'popular' sirahs to distinguish them generically from works like the first biography of Muhammad, also a called a sirah. They are long fictions of chivalry, relating the adventures of a hero/knight; 'Antar, Sultan Baybars are notable examples of which at least parts are now available in English and French. In my view, these works do not have the formal daring of The 1001 Nights, and while individual episodes may have been entertaining enough, in the aggregate, they take on a monotonous character.
15. Even measured against other works of a hitherto denigrated 'popular literature,' The 1001 Nights is a rather singular work. More typical representatives of that literature are the 'popular sîrahs' mentioned above.
Narrative in Medieval Arabic Literature
1. S.A. Bonebakker considers the problematic status of fiction in his essay "Nihil obstat in Storytelling?" found in the recent volume The Thousand and One Nights in Arabic Literature and Society, Cambridge 1997, pp. 56-77. But he seems to think the question is an open one. I think I have shown res obstat in articles on parody and lying, on Tanukhi, on early Muslim historical traditions, whose evidence I am more or less going over once more here.
2. This, despite the fact that the greater portion of 'legal' traditions and much of the 'historical' ones are now known to be, well, 'fictions'.
3. The same can be said of attempts to distinguish between different forms of the fantastic that would act as a criteria. It is not a question of forms of the fantastic per se, but of forms that would be unmistakable indices of fictionality. Joseph Sadan's review, in Journal of Arabic Literature, March 1994, pp. 81-83, of a book by Wiebke Walther discusses some of these questions.
4. L'Islam, morale et politique, p. 12.
5. Ibn Ishâq, Sîrat an-nabî, ed. 'Abd 'l-Hamîd, Cairo no date, Vol. 1, pp. 194-5, Vol. 2, p. 471. Trans. Guillaume, Alfred, The Life of Muhammad, London 1955, pp135-6, p.308.
6. In Ibn Khashshâb's debate with Ibn al-Barrî. pp. 4-5 (appended to a photcopied edition of the DeSacy editions, no place, no date).