The study demonstrates that significantly different versions have survived of some of the most famous tales from the Nights. Pinault notes how individual manuscript redactors employed -- and sometimes modified -- formulaic phrases and traditional narrative topoi in ways consonant with the themes emphasized in particular versions of a tale. He also examines the redactors' modification of earlier sources -- Arabic chronicles and Islamic religious treatises, geographers' accounts and medieval legends -- for specific narrative goals. Comparison of the narrative structure of diverse story-collection also sheds new light on the relationship of the embedded subordinate-narrative to the overarching frame-tale.
All cited passages from the Nights and other Arabic story- collections have been fully translated into English.
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