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Stranger Magic: Charmed States & the Arabian Nights Paperback – 1 Nov 2012

4.3 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 560 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (1 Nov. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099437694
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099437697
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 4.1 x 23.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 368,335 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"Wonderful... This is a flying carpet of a book" (Jeanette Winterson)

"Wide-ranging, erudite, wondrously polymathic exploration of the tales of magic...Warner, too is a beguiling storyteller: her fascination with true knowledge embedded in realms of wonder" (Iain Finlayson The Times)

"Her mind is as rich and fascinating as the stories themselves, taking us on a magic carpet from Borges and Goethe, to Edward Said and the movies" (Hanif Kureishi Guardian, Books of the Year)

"An epic study of the Arabian Nights...a dissection of the myths in these enduring classics that promises to throw light on the countries from which the stories spring and the lives of women in them" (Mariella Frostrup Observer, Books of the Year)

"This beautifully illustrated book, part retelling, part analysis, is a wonderful companion to some of the most marvellous stories ever told" (Michael Kerrigan The Scotsman)

Book Description

A dazzling history of magical thinking, exploring the power of the Arabian Nights and its impact in the West, and retelling some of its wondrous tales. Lavishly illustrated throughout.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Review courtesy of www.subtleillumination.com

In Stranger Magic: Charmed States and the Arabian Nights, Marina Warner examines the presence of enchantment and magic in everyday culture, and the reasons for its continued persistence despite its difficult co-existence with science. To do so, she studies how the perception of magic and imagination has evolved over history in the context of the Arabian Nights, and worries magic has been made more comfortable for Western audiences through the exoticisation of Oriental material.

She begins each chapter with a chosen story from the Arabian Nights, and analyzes it in detail before moving on to its larger implications. For me, this was actually the highlight of the book: I haven’t read the Arabian Nights in years, and having someone explain the context of the stories was fascinating. She covers Shahrazad’s gradual move from stories of men wronged by women to stories portraying women as victims, eventually earning the Sultan’s forgiveness for all women and his agreement to stop executing one per day.

The book, however, is almost impossible to take good notes on: she moves directly from Mongolian Shamanism to Obama’s Dreams from my Father, all in the context of understanding dreams. Such tangled webs make for interesting reading, though some chapters seem to lack relevance. That said, her thesis on the importance of imagination is one I am sympathetic to, and the framing of the issue in Arabian Nights is excellent. All of us might be better off if we were a little more willing, even in this rational world, to indulge in magic, both strange and everyday.
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Format: Paperback
Stranger Magic offers an unparalleled open door into what lies beneath and beyond the stories of 1001 Nights. Marina Warner peppers her commentary on the tales with her usual startling erudition where other less persistent writers would rely merely on anecdote. An essential read for anyone seriously interested, even "just interested" in the history of fiction.

But, for all this, the book is fully accessible, and wonderful bedtime reading!!!
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Format: Paperback
Marina Warner enchants the reader with beautiful, passionate writing and interesting facts for all The Arabian Nights fanatics. Inside you will also find beautiful illustrations who puts the reader into that magical and secretive world of The Arabian Nights. This is not just a guide to understand the stories better but also a door into a world few westerners dare to enter.
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Format: Paperback
an extraordinary and magical book - i am lost in wonder every time i sit down and dip in
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