Imagination, Orient, and the One Thousand and One Arabian Nights - Ogden

Imagination, Orient, and the One Thousand and One Arabian Nights

Imagination, Orient, and the One Thousand and One Arabian Nights

Sep 21, 2017, 6:30 pm


Imagination, Orient, and the One Thousand and One Arabian Nights

Book Title

One Thousand and One Nights



North Region


Weber County Library, Pleasant Valley Branch
5568 Adams Avenue Pkwy
Ogden , UT 84405-6936
Map [+]


Join Kevin Blankinship, Lecturer in Arabic Language & Culture at the University of Utah, who will present a fun, informative talk on "Imagination, Orient, and the One Thousand and One Arabian Nights." It will address the 1,001 Nights as a popular folktale in the medieval Islamic world and as a window on the Orient in the modern West. In both contexts, the 1,001 Nights has been above all a catalyst for the human imagination. Throughout the centuries, people have inscribed their desires, fears, nightmares and fantasies into the many stories that make up the Nights. This ultimately shows how fiction might be different from fact, but it can still reveal truth.

One Thousand and One Nights is a collection of Middle Eastern and South Asian stories and folk tales compiled in Arabic over many centuries by various authors, translators, and scholars across West, Central, and South Asia and North Africa. The tales themselves trace their roots back to ancient and medieval Arabic, Persian, Mesopotamian, Indian, Jewish, and Egyptian folklore and literature.

The influence of the versions of The Nights on world literature and cinema is immense and difficult to overstate. Various characters from this epic have themselves become cultural icons in Western culture, such as Aladdin, Sinbad and Ali Baba. Several elements from Arabian mythology and Persian mythology are now common in modern fantasy, such as genies, bahamuts, magic carpets, magic lamps, etc.

Kevin Blankinship is a PhD candidate in Arabic literature at the University of Chicago, with research interests in medieval notions of authorship, popular Arabic songs from Muslim Spain, folktales and animal fables, and translation studies. He currently works as Instructor of Arabic at the University of Utah, where he teaches intermediate and advanced classes in Arabic language. He also moonlights as a freelance Arabic translator. A native of Washington, DC, Professor Blankinship has traded the humidity and federal politics of his hometown for the much more agreeable square donuts and fry sauce of his newfound Utah home. He lives in South Jordan with his wife Bronwyn and their two sons.

This event is Free and Open to the Public.

This event is made possible with the support of the Ogden Symphony Ballet Association, Weber Book Links, and Utah Humanities.