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Antoine Galland and the Thousand and One nights Tradition: Perceptions and Perspectives

Posted: 12.10.2015

On the occasion of the 300th anniversary of the death of Antoine Galland, the first translator of the Thousand and one nights, the Literaturhaus Berlin, in co-operation with the European research programme Encounters with the Orient in early modern Europe, organizes a commemorative day dedicated to Galland and his work.

The programme consists of an academic workshop to discuss the place of Galland's Mille et une nuits in the various traditions and its multifarious afterlives; a roundtable discussion between three translators of the Thousand and one nights about the technical and cultural problems related to such an ambitious translation; and readings by authors who in some way or another find inspiration in the Thousand and one nights for their own work, showing that the narrative dynamics of Shaharazad is still felt.


Academic session: Antoine Galland and the Thousand and one nights tradition: perceptions and perspectives.

9.30 Musical Ouverture:

The "One Thousand and One Nights" theme (comp. Baligh Hamdi for Umm Kulthum) accompanied by the opening of the Galland Manuscript in Arabic and German.

Performing: Claudia Ott (nay, recitation); Hanan El-Shemouty (qanun); Hadi Alizadeh (percussion)


Chair: Charles Burnett

9.45 – 10.30 Ibrahim Akel (Paris), Some notes on the Arabic manuscripts in the collection of Galland "Gallandanus"

10.30 – 11.15 Ulrich Marzolph (Göttingen), Galland in the Making: The early travel diaries (1672–73) in the light of comparative folk narrative research

11.15 – 12.00 Robert Irwin (London), The Abbe Terrasson’s Sethos (1731) and other Egyptological fantasies


Lunch Break

13.40 Musical Intermezzo: Improvisations on the Ottoman Turkish theme "Mevlana"


Chair: Richard van Leeuwen

13.45 – 14.30 Paulo Lemos Horta (Abu Dhabi), Collaborators and Translators

14.30 – 15.15 Elisabetta Benigni (Torino), An overview on 19th and 20th centuries Italian translation of the Thousand and One Nights and the emergence of Italian “nocturnal literature”


16.00 – 17.00 Translators roundtable: Translating the Thousand and one nights: cultural and literary perspectives

Chair: Paulo Lemos Horta


Ellen Wulff (Denmark)

Claudia Ott (Germany)

Amund Bjørsnøs (Norway)

Richard van Leeuwen (Netherlands)


17.30 – 19.00 Literary readings:

Musical Opening: Samai Huzam (comp. Abdo Saleh) accompanied by a love poem out of the Galland Manuscript of the Thousand and One Nights in Arabic and German


Chair: Jan Loop

Thomas Lehr

Mircea Cartarescu


Musical Finale: Longa Riyad (comp. Riyad al-Sunbati)