Main content

The One Thousand and One Nights

The history and influence of these ancient magical tales, whose origins stretch from India to Persia to Arabia.

The One Thousand and One Nights are a collection of fantastical stories of flying carpets, magic and genies whose ancient origins go back to the 7th century or earlier. The tales are told by Scheherazade who uses the power of storytelling night after night to stop her Sultan husband from beheading her ... These highly influential stories were brought to the West in the 18th century, when more tales like Aladdin and Ali Baba were said to have been added by the French translator, and it has continued to evolve over the centuries. Rajan Datar and guests explore why these stories became so popular around the world and what they mean to us today.

Joining Rajan is Wen Chin Ouyang, Professor of Arabic at SOAS in London; Dr Sandra Naddaff, senior lecturer in Comparative Literature at Harvard University; and the Iranian TV producer Shabnam Rezaei.

Photo: Sand Sculpture depicting 1001 Nights of Sheherazade. (Getty Images)

Available now

41 minutes

Last on

Tue 1 Aug 2017 23:06GMT

Broadcasts

Podcast