Cultural Encounters with the Arabian Nights in Nineteenth-Century Britain
Aladdin, Sinbad, Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves, Scheherazade winding out her intricate tales to win her nightly stay of execution: the stories of the Arabian Nights are a familiar and much-loved part of the English literary inheritance. But how did these tales become so much a part of the British cultural landscape? Dickson identifies the nineteenth century as the beginning of the large-scale absorption of the Arabian Nights into British literature and culture. She explores how this period used the stories as a means of articulating its own experiences of a rapidly changing environment. She also argues for a view of these tales not as a depiction of otherness, but as a site of recognition and imaginative exchange between East and West, in a period when such common ground was rarely found.