1902 Encyclopedia > Arabia > Arabic Literature - Romance

(Part 51)


(51) Arabic Literature - Romance

Romance, analogous though not similar to the European novel, was always a favourite branch of Arab literature; and in the Thousand and One Nights it obtained a worldwide celebrity and success. The original of this entertaining work appears to have been composed in Baghdad about the 11th century; another less popular but very spirited version is probably of Tunisian authorship, and somewhat later in date. The stories of Antarah, of the Benoo Hilal, of Mohalhel, of Barakat, and countless others, belong to the same class of writings, though cast in more of a biographical form, not unlike that adopted by the great Defoe. Strictly objective in character, the Arab novel, though often a vivid portraiture of the outside of men and customs, has never portrayed, or attempted to portray, the inner workings of the human mind.

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