90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
The Arabian Nights

A new twist on the old magic in the tales of the Arabian Nights.

Scheherazade by Léon Samoilovitch Bakst 1896.

Scheherazade by Léon Samoilovitch Bakst 1896.

The Tales of a Thousand and One Nights – the Arabian Nights – start with a terrible premise.  The great sultan has decided to marry a new virgin every night, and cut off her head in the morning.  Candidates are running out.

Young Scheherazade volunteers for the job.  And tells the sultan a story so compelling, every night, that when she leaves him hanging in the morning he can’t bear to kill her.  Until finally, he falls in love.  After a thousand and one stories of magic and genies, enchantment, pleasure and sin.

This hour, On Point:  a new take, twist, on the old magic in the tales of the Arabian Nights.

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Marina Warner, author of the new book Stranger Magic: Charmed States and The Arabian Nights.  You can read and excerpt of the book here.

From Tom’s Reading List

The Daily Beast “One of the world’s greatest story collections, ‘Arabian Nights,’ gets a fresh appreciation from fairy-tales scholar Marina Warner. Brad Gooch on how the ghost of Edward Said’s ‘Orientalism’ haunts the work.”

The New York Times “At 65, the British scholar Marina Warner is a veteran magus, and an adept mythographer of the vast global traditions of magic, metaphor and myth. Also an accomplished novelist, she augments her learning with her narrative skills. As a fan of her prolific enterprise for the last ­quarter-century, I regret that I have never met her, so delightful is her verve.”

The Independent “The Nights became, for successive European generations from the Enlightenment on, a prism through which writers and artists could form and then articulate their own fantasies and prejudices about the Orient. Edward Lane’s 1840 translation expurgated sex and violence from the tales, while in 1882 the explorer Richard Burton, infuriated by what he saw as Lane’s prudery, put the sex back in, plus some extra obsessions of his own in the footnotes.”

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
Apr 1, 2015
In this Dec. 19, 2014 file photo, oil pump jacks work in unison, in Williston, N.D. The number of drill rigs in western North Dakota's oil patch has slipped to a five-year low with the falling price of oil.  (AP)

American energy production at a time of low oil prices. Oil, gas, wind, solar. And what the changed oil price landscape means.

Apr 1, 2015
Characters and logo from BabyFirstTV , a television and digital entertainment group specifically targeting infants and babies younger than two years old. (BabyFirstTV / Facebook)

A new network aimed exclusively at infants and toddlers. We weigh the impact.

RECENT
SHOWS
Mar 31, 2015
Jazz icon Billie Holiday performs in New York City's Club Downbeat in February 1947.  (Library of Congress / Creative Commons)

A meditation on the life and music of Billie Holiday. The lady who sang the blues.

 
Mar 31, 2015
Some of the hundreds of people who gathered outside the Indiana Statehouse on Saturday, March 28, 2015, for a rally against legislation signed Thursday by Gov. Mike Pence stand on the Statehouse's south steps during the 2-hour-long rally. (AP)

Indiana’s controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Critics call it anti-gay. Business leaders say bad for the economy. The governor’s not backing down. We’ll dive in.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Our Week In The Web: March 27, 2015
Friday, Mar 27, 2015

More on the incessant email debate, plus some goats living their best lives and the sad allure of Manhattan’s shuttered Pommes Frites.

More »
2 Comments
 
Mobile Payments Offer Convenience If You Keep Your Email Safe
Thursday, Mar 26, 2015

Thinking about moving your wallet to your phone? You can! And maybe you should? But TechCrunch senior writer Josh Constine has a few things to tell you before you do.

More »
1 Comment
 
Using Technology To Get Your Kids Outside
Thursday, Mar 26, 2015

The latest and greatest — using apps to make natural exploration more fun for your kids.

More »
Comment