A journey through the Arabian Nights, also known as the Thousand and One Nights.

From Aladdin's lamp to genies escaping from bottles, this medieval collection of stories-within-stories is part of the English language.


EpisodeTitleFirst
Broadcast
Description
01Scheherazade20040517In the first of five programmes, the novelist and Arabist Robert Irwin explores the genius of Scheherazade, the woman who escaped death by turning survival into an art form.
02Found In Translation20040518In the second of five programmes about the classic story collection of the Arabian Nights, Robert Irwin discovers how the first translation of the stories triggered the West's craze for the Orient and why the most famous translator of the tales is buried in a tent.
03Aladdin20040519The Arabian Nights are best known as children's stories, but they were actually written for adults.
Why did we turn The Nights into children's literature, when the original tales are full of sex and violence? Why is Aladdin the most famous and popular of all the stories, when it's actually the least magical and might not even be one of the original stories? Robert Irwin answers all these questions and more.
04Open Sesame20040520Robert Irwin goes on a magical tour of The Arabian Nights, discovering real spells and modern stories of enchantment, encountering genies, amulets, sorceresses and flying carpets.
05 LASTThe Historian And The Storyteller20040521In the last of his series about The Arabian Nights, Robert Irwin finds out whether the stories can tell us anything about the medieval Arabic world they came from, and discovers a long-lost manuscript of the original stories.

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