Universität Erfurt

Projekt von Dr. Francesca Bellino

Two Medieval Arabic romances fluctuating between “independent” and “mixed” textual tradition and Thousand and One Nights collections: Sindbad the sailor and Uns al-Wujud

This project concerns the study and analysis of two intimately related research topics in the field of Arabic prose literature of the post-classical period (1200–1800): on the one hand, it focuses on the study of a textual tradition of a story in the stages prior to its inclusion within the wide corpus of the Thousand and One Nights; on the other, it proposes to examine a “mixed” textual tradition which includes both prose and poetry versions. The project being undertaken at the Forschungsbibliothek of Gotha concerns the study of some Arabic manuscripts preserving both Thousand and One Nights collections (Mss. Orient. A 2632–2638) and independent romances which rather belatedly have become part of the larger corpus of the Thousand and One Nights (Mss. Orient. A 2639–2686). Regarding the latter, it seemed appropriate to focus on two stories and take them as case studies: the first is the famous cycle of Sindbad the sailor (Mss. Orient. A 2650–2653), the second is the story of Uns al-Wujud and the Vizier’s Daughter al-Ward fi al-Akmam (Mss. Orient. A. 2640–2646). Both stories retain a wide-spread manuscript tradition that precedes the next which is instead inextricably linked to that of the Thousand and One Nights. The textual tradition of Uns al-Wujud is even mixed. Thus it includes both versions in prose and versions entirely in verse. These latter, together with some evidence collected in the field (Egypt), suggest an equally significant phase of oral transmission of the story.

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