Meta-Orientalist Critique in Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Thousand- ...

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  • Title: Meta-Orientalist Critique in Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Thousand-and-Second Tale of Scheherazade”
  • Author(s): Haitham Talafha
  • Publisher: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Collection: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Series: New Directions in the Humanities
  • Journal Title: The International Journal of Literary Humanities
  • Keywords: Edgar Allan Poe, Orientalism, Arabian Nights, Scheherazade
  • Volume: 16
  • Issue: 3
  • Year: 2018
  • ISSN: 2327-7912 (Print)
  • ISSN: 2327-8676 (Online)
  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.18848/2327-7912/CGP/v16i03/1-15
  • Citation: Talafha, Haitham . 2018. "Meta-Orientalist Critique in Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Thousand-and-Second Tale of Scheherazade”." The International Journal of Literary Humanities 16 (3): 1-15. doi:10.18848/2327-7912/CGP/v16i03/1-15.
  • Extent: 15 pages

Abstract

In “The Thousand-and-Second Tale of Scheherazade,” Edgar Allan Poe presents his criticism of the Orientalist discourse of his time, explaining ultimately the conditions that empowered and sustained this discourse for a long time. This authorial standpoint is traced and reconstructed in the process of three stages. First, Poe introduces an Orientalist narrator who constructs a typical Orientalized text by creating a sequel to the frame story of the “Arabian Nights.” Second, the narrator’s text is deconstructed in a way that renders Poe clearly dissociated from the multiple narrators within his story and attracts attention to his counter-Orientalist attitude. Third, the complex structure of the tale, composed of different narratives within a frame story, and the gaps and contradictions within these narrative levels reflect necessarily how the Orientalist discourse of Poe’s time is based upon a process of simulations that makes the whole system of Orientalism devoid of any truth.