Stranger Magic examines the profound impact of the Arabian Nights on the West, the progressive exoticization of magic, and the growing acceptance of myth. “My favorite work of non-fiction this year was Marina Warner's Stranger Magic: Charmed States and the Arabian Nights. In her exploration of this immense. Stranger Magic is a production company founded by Yumna Khan and Nida Chowdhry. We're here to make the shows we deserve: diverse, high-quality stories.


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Stranger Magic: Charmed States & The Arabian Nights

It was only in the short conclusion that we finally reached anything like the beginnings of an stranger magic on the paradox of magical thinking in rational times, and could have been a great book if teased out and commented upon at length.

An enjoyable read, nonetheless, and a good companion-piece to reading The Arabian Nights themselves. She takes 15 of her favourite tales and spins a knowledgeable but rather haphazard cultural history.

She also makes a point of denying their Arab-ness: Immediately obvious is the relevance of Arabian Nights to crucial questions of perception of the East by the West during this season of Arab thaw and Iranian freeze Warner does a good job, especially in her "Conclusion: In Stranger Magic Warner surveys just how pervasively The Arabian Nights has influenced art and literature since the eighteenth century.

On the surface, her book covers what more dogmatic critics would call the West's cultural appropriation of the East Stranger Magic is packed with information and insight Warner writes with clarity, and sometimes with exquisite beauty Warner possesses an exceptionally synoptic mind, almost Stranger magic in its sensitivity to connections and repeated motifs Stranger Magic is, in fact, simply the latest in an exhilarating series of studies that reexamine the West's fantastic imagination.


From the Beast to the Blonde, No Go the Bogeyman, and Phantasmagoria explore the cultural meanings of folktales and Mother Goose stories, children's literature, and fairy tales, stranger magic fearful monsters, beasts, and ogres of nightmare, and all the ways humankind has attempted to represent the spiritual.

Ranged together, these substantial works, now joined by Stranger Magic, look solid and magisterial on the bookshelf, calling to mind the encyclopedic scholarship we associate with an earlier age.

Stranger Magic: Charmed States & The Arabian Nights by Marina Warner

Stranger magic, while Marina Warner is as learned as any Victorian polymath, she also employs contemporary feminist theory and the insights of cultural studies to make us look once more, or look more deeply, at the history of cinema, art, theater, and literature.

Each of her books is an Aladdin's cave of wonders. Warner has long been recognized as one of the foremost scholars of the fairy tale and myth.

Here, she brings her characteristic erudition and insight to one of the great works stranger magic world literature, The Arabian Nights, using the best-known as well as some of the lesser-known stories to demonstrate how the Nights contributed to the rise of magical thinking across European and world culture She ably demonstrates how the tales loom large in European culture and have provided the basis for much creativity and imagination since their discovery by the West in the 18th century General readers and scholars in folklore, history, and Arabic literature alike will appreciate Warner's ability to make connections between the Nights and the way the stories have resonated over time and space.

More even than an inquisitive, authoritative study of one of the greatest imaginative enterprises of human history, this is a further chapter in Warner's unfolding of the power--the magical power as it may be--of the magical imagination Some of the most original and compelling arguments in Stranger Magic concern the uses of Arabian flights of fantasy as vehicles for scientific and technological speculation So to the orientalisms of Edward Lane and Richard Burton's English translations, which not only presented the medieval fantastic as a documentary resource for understanding the "unchanging" and now stranger magic subjected Arab culture of the 19th century, but also projected on to the exotic foreign screen fantasies and fears that would have been taboo in a domestic context.

Burton famously re-sexualised the tales with his own copious notes on the east's supposed perversions. Stranger Magic is an enormous work, densely erudite and eclectic pages plus another hundred of glossaries and notes.

Stranger Magic — Marina Warner | Harvard University Press

Warner's chapters, allocated into five parts, are beautifully illustrated and interspersed with 15 tales concisely retold. Part one focuses on the jinn or genies — who behave, like the Greek gods, badly, capriciously, illogically — and also on the figure of Solomon, a master of the jinn in his Islamic version, stranger magic located in the white wizard tradition somewhere between Gilgamesh, Merlin, Prospero and Gandalf.

It includes one of the book's many delightful discoveries: The second part attends to the Arab and European stranger magic of attributing foreignness to evil magicians.

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