Chaucer used the frame of that collection of stories, to make all of the stories inside that frame more complicated, more ambiguous and more interesting - Nights essay introduction. Our interest in this collection of story is in the frame on the way stories get told. But there are two things for all purposes in this course. The first one is the question what kind of a story does this frame require? The frame itself is in some ways more limiting than that in Chaucer’s since it only has one narrator and a very limited audience.
Technically an audience of one that Shahryar allows Dinnerzad is also always there so that there really is an audience of two. Chaucer had 30 tellers and 30 listeners, so the possibilities of the interaction among those 3 people are much greater. Scheherazad needs to stretch her stories over as many nights as she possibly can and the way she does this is by telling nested tales, so that possibly she can have 3 or 4 stories going at one time.
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What that means if the interaction between teller and listeners is more limited in this collection and it is in Chaucer, the possibilities for narrative complexity are much greater. nested stories: The idea is, never to allow a story to end at the end of a night which would give the king a chance to put her death into morning since he would have heard the end of the story. On the very first night Scheherazad starts a story about a merchant who one day sits down to eat his lunch. When he is finished he throws away the stones from his dates.
Notice we have already at first night begun the nesting process, the first sheikh story is actually a story within the story and it has to be finished before we can get back to frame story. Scheherazad’s second important technique in addition to keeping several stories going at once is never to finish story by the time the king needs to sleep for a few hours before getting up and doing his kingly duties for the day. In this story she does that too. The story that the first sheikh tells is about how his wife got herself enchanted into this gazelle he is now leading around.
That story he tells has a series of really good climaxes in it and at one point in story the sheikh is approaching a beautiful calf with his knife in his hand, ready to cut the calf’s throat not realizing that the calf is his own enchanted son. Just as he reaches for the calf with his knife Scheherazad said “oh, it’s time for you to get some sleep”, and Dinnerzad she really like to hear the end of the story. Scheherazad says that ending is even better than the story so far and this story is nothing compared to the one that she could tell the next night if she still alive.
After the third sheikh has finished his story, we get this. This is from the Richard Britain translation so the language is a little archaic which you get the idea how a narrative strategy works. When it was the third night Dinnerzad her sister said to her finish for us that tale. She replied with joy: that the third old man told the tale to the jinny more wondrous than the two preceding, the jinny marveled with exceeding marvel and shaking with delight cried, low I have given thee the remainder of the merchant’s punishment and for thy sake have I released him.
There upon the merchant embraced the old men and thank them and the sheikhs wished him joy on being saved and fared forth each one for his own city. Yet this tale is not more wondrous than the fisherman story. Asked the king what it is the fisherman story and she answered by relating the tale of the fisherman and the jinny. The second really interesting thing about this frame is that it is really deeply embedded in the history of world literature both past and future.
Scheherazad says she is not making up any of the stories and that’s through of the entire collection. Arab writers at this period had access to the stories of the Greeks and the Romans and Egyptians and the Berbers and the Persians and the Indians and scholars have in fact traced many of the stories and techniques of this book back to earlier collections and they have also then been interested in seeing where the stories go from this point on, so in some amazingly beautiful ways for our course the 1001 nights looks backward and forward simultaneously.
there were collections of Indian stories in existence for a long time already. Collections like the Jataka, the Pancantantra, and the Kathasaritsagara, which already had in place all of the techniques were used in 1001 nights and some f the stories in 1001 nights could be found there too. That book (Pancantantra’s) we know is translated into Persian in the 6th century and into Arabic in the 8th century, after which it made its way into Syria, Hebrew, and eventually into all European literatures.
It provided stories for Boccaccio’s “The Decameron”, for Chaucer’s “Canterbury Tales” and even for some Grimm Brothers fairy tales. So we know that stories have a way of getting around specially in the oral tradition and by the time the 1001 nights was put to paper these stories have been around for a very long time in many places and in many languages. The first tales of 1001 nights were translated into French in the 18th century So that means 19th -century children grew up with these stories.
At the very end of Proust’s Remembrance of Things Past when he knows now that it’s time for him to start his novel and he just needs enough time to finish the novel, he praise for 1001 nights to finish the novel and number is not an accident. Bits of these stories from the 1001 nights run through Leopold Bloom’s head during his day in Dublin in Ulysses. But even looking further ahead John Barth in the book that he wrote is called “Chimera”. In that book the 1st story is called Dunyazadiad and it’s the frame story of 1001 nights told in the point of view of Scheherazad’s younger sister.
The author is allowed to be a character in Scheherazad story. He in fact helps her with the stories that she tells the king every night. What fascinated Barth about the book was its narrative structure and the way storytelling becomes the actual subject of this book, in other words this is reflexive literature. Barth loved the way that stories could be nested and he and Scheherazad speculate about a series of nested stories so constructed, the one that climax is reached in her most story it sets off the climaxes in all the other ones like the string of firecrackers.
He worked these ideas into some of his own stories in one a short story called a Menelaus which is Menelaus story from the Trojan War. He puts narrative inside narrative, keeps nesting them and every time he nests another story, he adds another set of quotation marks. Some readers, feminists especially think that Shahrazad is really trying to teach the king some lessons, in a way helping him to grow up and in thinking about this there are 2 ways which we can do it: sometimes critics have looked for ways which the individual stories themselves might teach king Shahryar some lessons.
Fedwa malti douglas in a book suggests that Shahryar’s practice of deflowering a woman every night and killing her the next morning is a metaphor for what she calls an immature male pattern of excitement, satisfaction and termination. What she suggests that Shahrazad is doing not with the individual story but the process of storytelling itself is teaching him new pattern which she calls pattern of extended and continuous pleasure. Malti Douglas is suggesting that sex can be like storytelling and that Shahrazad can alter the king’s sexual habits by telling him stories.
————————————————- Chaucer puts a distance between the author and the tellers of the tales. Marguerite of Navarre will use this technique and Voltaire in Candid a little further down the road will find it very useful technique indeed. This frame requires that the stories themselves be more artful especially in terms of nesting. Candide Voltaire is one of the most important writers of the age of reason and he worked in so many different genres; he wrote drama, and history, and letters, and essays in philosophy as well as prose fictions like Candide.
Many of those works were attacks on French government and on Catholic Church which kept him on the edge of trouble with the efforts in most of his life; Candide’s subtitle is optimism, a popular 18th century theory that claimed that “this is the best of all possible worlds”. In very oversimplified terms, God is an omnipotent therefore could have made any kind of world, but he is also benevolent and so he would necessarily have made the best possible world.
Certain conditions in the world such as disease, earthquake, famine are a part of this best of all words promoting some greater good of which we might be unaware. here the speaker gives an example that when we fall off a ladder and break a leg we might find the gravity a destructive part of the universe we live in, and since God could have made any kind of world, he could have made one without gravity. but gravity keeps things in its place and keeps us from flying off the space, so its benefits outweighs its problems. Voltaire himself was an optimist early in his life.
It was the trendy, idea of the age and it could be reconciled with deism which was the sort of religion of the intelligentsia which saw God as a kind of cosmic watch maker who had created the universe, had wound it up and had left it to run by its own natural laws. A turning point for him was the Lisbon earthquake. in the catholic calendar November 1st is All Saints’ Day, so many of the inhabitants of Lisbon were in the church when the earthquake struck and it leveled the city and it killed sth like 30 to 40 thousand people. why we’re not calling this is a novel? V cannot call it a novel by 18th century standards.
It doesn’t develop its characters very much, it’s too full of coincidence and implausibility and it doesn’t reflect the world around us. In fact in this book there are so many disasters that happened and in fact everything that happens to the little group of protagonists in this book has happened to somebody in the course of history and some of the events in the book are actual historical events. What makes it slightly implausible is that all of these disasters should have happened to this little tiny group of people and that they should have survived them all. It’s also been called something of a picaresque story.
In a picaresque protagonist travels from place to place, getting in and out of scripts some of which he causes himself and then finishing that one and moving on into a new adventure. Don Quixote may owe sth to the picaresque tradition and Candide does, like the picaresque in being very episodic that one adventure leads to the next without there being necessarily much causal connection between them. It’s also of course in part a satire on human efforts to comprehend life in the universe but its satirical mode aligns with so much else in 18th century as v said last time satire was one of the favorite methods of the 18th century.
Finally it has also been called Oriental tale. 1001 nights had been translated in to French about half century earlier and its stories had provided some new models for story tellers. Voltaire had actually written a really literal Oriental tail one called “Zaidic”. It’s about the travels of the protagonist across the orient. This is like an oriental tale that doesn’t take place in the orient. It hasn’t oriental tales plot and structure. It’s just set in the Europe and the new world rather than orient.
A bout the book itself , the spokesman for Optimism in the book is a philosopher named Dr. Pangloss whose name translates sth like all-talk. He is the tutor of young Candide. He teaches a reduced and satirical version of Leibnitez’s theory. He teaches not only about the best of all possible worlds, but tries to work out the specific way in which everything in the world serves some greater good. Candide’s name translates something like innocent or naive. Partway through the book Candide will acquire another companion a man named Martin who says that he is a Manichean who believes
that the world is a battle ground between the forces of good and evil. Pangloss says, it is a best of all possible worlds and Martin thinks that is pretty close to the worst of all possible worlds. Candide will listen to both of them and try to square their teachings where all the horrible things happen to him. the very tidiest of the book has seemed to most critics to be satirical. The events in the story are so chaotic and random, but the wonderful symmetry of the book looks like another human effort to impose order on cosmic chaos.
at the end of the book the little group, all get together in constant noble and there they use the last bit of the wealth that candide has brought back with him from Eldorado to buy a little, tiny farm. With all the terrible things that have happened to them which were all behind them now we expect the day all live happily in the future but not so. They wind up to, absolutely born to death. Martin of course isn’t surprised by the boredom at the end of the story the fact that to be bored. At the book’s end the theory of Optimism has been pretty thoroughly exploded.
The last chapter of the novel suggests a new theory to put in its place. A dervish that Candide and his companions visit tells them that the purposes of creation are none of their business, and that mice on a galley should not even ask whether they are comfortable or not. On their way home, they stop the home of a Turkish farmer who with his wife and with his two children rather; seen content in comfortable. Candide asks him how he does it? How can he be so happy and comfortable and so calm here? So the answer is this “he says: I have only 20 acres” replied the Turk.
I cultivate them with my children, and the work keeps us from 3 great evils: boredom, vice, and poverty. So the little group goes back to its farm, where Candide keeps repeating that “We must cultivate our garden. ” While this last chapter can be read in a variety of ways, several items need to be kept in mind. 1. The mice-in-the-galley metaphor suggests that the universe was not made for us; therefore any speculations we make about its purpose and nature will be as foolish as mice speculating on the purpose or nature of the galley in
which they happen to be. 2. Work can keep us from speculating too much and getting ourselves tangled up in useless hypotheses about why we are here and what we are supposed to be doing. 3. “Cultivating our garden” is the metaphor for whatever work we do, Whatever he means by garden, is clear that if we keep our hands busy we won’t have time to be too much worried about good and evil or whether this is the best of all possible worlds. Candide did his traveling companion come up with a man who is missing a right hand and a left leg.
He tells then he works in a sugar mail as a slave. Once he got a finger cut in a machine, and the punishment for getting your finger cut, is to have your hand cut off. Once he tried run away, and the punishment for running away is to have one of your leg cut off. Voltaire reminds us that this is the price of the sugar deceit in Europe. But the point for Candide is that having listen to this poor man’s story, he tells his companion, he thinks he is goanna have to give up the theory of optimism.