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Tag Archives: life drive

Eros and the Arabesque (Part VII)

Conclusion? The Syrian manuscripts attempted to preserve and reproduce the “original” which stopped at two hundred and seventy-one nights but the Egyptian branch of manuscripts, Haddawy tells us in the introduction, “shows a proliferation that produced an abundance of poisonous fruits that proved almost fatal to the original” (Nights xv). Haddawy calls such additions “poisonous [...] Continue reading …

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Eros and the Arabesque (Part VI)

Death + Life = Stories, Stories and More Stories! Life and death intertwine in unusual ways in The Arabian Nights. The first tale is interrupted by morning: “but morning overtook Shahrazad and she lapsed into silence” (Nights 23). Morning is usually a sign of new beginnings, life and hope, but here it means death. Sir [...] Continue reading …

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Eros and the Arabesque (Part V)

Eros and Shahrazad Freud expanded the concept of the pleasure principle, as he developed his theory of  the death drive, into a broader, more inclusive life drive, which he associated with Eros, the Greek god of sexual love: “the libido of our sexual instincts would coincide with the Eros of the poets and philosophers which [...] Continue reading …

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Eros and the Arabesque (Part IV)

The Death Drive and King Shahrayar Confronted with mounting evidence of a compulsion to reenact traumatic events, which the pleasure principle could not explain — victims of railway disasters, soldiers returning from World War I, and even children were obsessively reliving unpleasurable events in dreams, behavior, speech, therapy and games — Freud developed a theory [...] Continue reading …

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Eros and the Arabesque (Part III)

Dangerous Extremes of Pleasure in the Prologue The sexual instinct, which Freud said is so hard to “educate,” can be carried to such extremes that pleasure becomes destructive, even self-destructive. From the point of view of self-preservation, Freud writes, the pleasure principle is “from the very outset inefficient and even highly dangerous” (Freud, “Beyond” 597). [...] Continue reading …

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Eros and the Arabesque (Part II)

Pleasure Frames the Story What gives The Arabian Nights its ageless appeal? Pleasure! The pleasure principle draws in readers (as the promise of pleasure entices the king into Shahrazad’s narrative). Ample evidence of the pleasure principle can be found even before the story begins.

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Eros and the Arabesque: The Serial Proliferation of Life in The Arabian Nights (Part I)

Introduction I have heard, O wise and happy Professor, that the end of the story is death, its continuation, life. For Shahrazad this is literally true. While the story continues, she lives. If the story ends, she dies. Full of jealousy and rage, the king has sworn to take a new wife every night, satisfy [...] Continue reading …

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