PDF Tales of Transmigration Book 2: Sisters

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Elena hasn't connected with his friends on Goodreads, yet. Elena Clark Goodreads Author. Combine Editions. Elena Clark Average rating: 4. Elena Clark Goodreads Author ,. Anna Lilliman Editor. David Clark Editor. Want to Read saving…. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Error rating book. Refresh and try again. Carol Hightshoe Goodreads Author Editor ,. Linda Epstein. Richard H. However, similar reversals, especially in the characters of women, happen within single stories such as that of Badoura, Princess of China who is married to her physical and spiritual 'twin' Prince Camaralzaran of Khaledan, heroically sets off in search of him in male disguise when they are separated, advances to the role of vizier at Ebene and persuades Camaralzaran, when he reappears to marry her 'wife', the princess, only to fall criminally in love with her stepson by the princess and Camaralzaran and then accuse him of attempted rape when he rejects her advances.

Princess Haiatalnefous, her fellow wife, acts in the same way toward Badour's son. Their perfidy is not discovered until after the two young men have been reported to be executed, and Camaralzaran orders both women confined to prison for the rest of their days. After many adventures which prove their virtue and their exemplary Muslim behaviour in their encounters with idolaters the two sons are reunited with their father.

Such reversals in character are, of course, common to long narrative and primarily oral sequences, familiar to modern readers from soap opera; a character can transform over a long period of narrative time from hero to villain and vice versa. However, they are largely confined to the female characters of the Nights and could also be seen to point to the ambivalence of the position of the loquacious politically-active woman in the oriental tale. Silence is the only guarantor of female virtue in the tales; thus in 'The Story of Beder, Prince of Persia', the prince's mother is acquired as a slave by his father but refuses to speak until she is pregnant when she reveals her real identity as a princess of the sea and becomes the queen-consort to her newly monogamous husband.

The queen Gulnare acts to protect her son at various points in his story; he falls prey to the magical powers of two women, the princess of Samandal another watery kingdom who is so offended when he declares his love that she turns him into a bird and the Queen of Labe who turns him into an owl as she has done all the other men she has taken to her court as favourites.

It is Gulnare, his mother, who transforms him back into human form from this last metamorphosis. As Diderot's parody suggests, the open female mouth is always a possible indicator of a sexual 'openness' which threatens the enclosure and ownership of the seraglio woman. Why then does Scheherazade narrate stories which appear to threaten her own position, and point to the possibility of the potential unchastity she shares with all women?

Again, it could be argued that this is to thematise a loose collection of tales from different cultures, sources and contexts - folk-tale, state history, fairy tale, court intrigue - and to invest the frame as determining the nature of all the narratives it encloses rather as the sultan does all women, extrapolating a universal tendency from a few instances. Galland put together his materials from a variety of sources and a number, often the best known such as the Sinbad sequence and Aladdin, are not found in his Arabic souce which gave him the frame structure.

However, he did also seek to give the frame some prominence, to the extent of inventing a conclusion which resolved Scheherazade's tale, and there can be little doubt that eighteenth-century readers understood and remembered the Nights as a framed sequence rather than simply a 'storehouse' for story. Galland's conclusion points to a way of understanding Scheherazade's risky strategy of inscribing an ambivalence about female speech into her own speech:.

The Sultan of the Indies could not but admire the prodigious memory of the sultaness his wife, who had entertained and diverted him so many nights, with such new and aggreable stories, that he believed her stock inexhaustible. A thousand and one nights had passed away in these agreeable and innocent amusements; which contributed so much towards removing the sultan's fatal prejudice against all women, and sweetening the violence of his temper, that he conceived a great esteem for the sultaness Scheherazade; and was convinced of her merit and great wisdom, and remembered with what courage she exposed herself voluntarily to be his wife, knowing the fatal destiny of the many sultanesses before her.

These considerations, and the many rare qualities he knew her to be mistress of, induced him at last to forgive her. I see, lovely Scheherazade, said he, that you can never be at a loss for these sorts of stories to divert me; therefore I renounce in your favour the cruel law I had imposed on myself; and I will have you to be looked upon as the deliverer of the many damsels I had resolved to have sacrificed to my unjust resentment.

The sultaness cast herself at his feet, and embraced them with the marks of a most lively and sincere acknowledgement. Both the motive behind and the nature of Schariar's decision are purposefully confused here, suggesting that perhaps the one lesson learned from his consumption of so many tales is the agency of ambivalent statement. When we are told that he has chosen to 'forgive her' we must necessarily ask what crime it is that he forgives; the crime of all women, of unchastity, which has not in any case been proved against her or the crime of speaking out in his presence, of daring to 'teach' an absolute ruler and question the absoluteness of his decisions?

Moreover, the reason for his reversal of intention the decision to 'forgive' is not clear. He nowhere suggests that the stories themselves have proved the possibility of female virtue. It is the fact that they amuse and divert him, rather than returning him to the obsessive jealousy which had preoccupied his thoughts before the sequence commenced, which have 'contributed so much towards removing the sultan's fatal prejudice against all women'. How can one woman telling many stories prove to the listener that all women are not unchaste?

What they have proved is that their teller is clever, entertaining and a fit, if not superior, intellectual companion.


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Indeed, Scheherazade's greatest success as story-teller may be in her delivery of stories which have nothing to do with 'proving' or 'disproving' female virtue. Sinbad's voyages, for instance, like Robinson Crusoe's adventures, prove the resilience of the protagonist while his fortune magically accrues without much positive action on his part. Scheherazade's stories similarly appear to succeed by their circulation alone; their producer need not husband or manage her resources particularly, but rather simply keep them in circulation and her symbolic capital magically grows.

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This may be why the Nights remained from their first appearance onwards the touchstone and paradigm of the oriental tale, the sequence ever burgeoning and expanding, but always retaining its magical power as sign of the east for its western readers. The Nights , like the woman who tells them, transform the world around them by repetitive acts of simple accretion. What Yu Talkin? Syed Ali Tawfik Al-Attas.

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