I'm currently reading "1001 Nights", the first book, and I realized that a lot of characters seem to be very fond of expressing themselves through poetry, this seems to be true (I haven't finished the book yet) from the Caliph to a peasant fisherman. Not only that, but powerful men being impressed by recitations have saved many lives throughout the book. Why is that?


My edition is The Arabian Nights: Tales of 1,001 Nights: Volume 1 (Penguin Classics).


I was wondering if there was a specific motive, maybe historical, regarding the choice of poetry, rather than the author's, whoever it may be, own preference. Therefore, I didn't think that the first Wikipedia article answered my question. But reading the second (which I hadn't read) seems to answer my question:

It was the early poems' importance to Islamic scholarship, though, which would lead to their preservation. Not only did the poems illuminate life in the early years of Islam and its antecedents but they would also prove the basis for the study of linguistics of which the Qur'an was regarded as the pinnacle.

  • There are many books titled "1001 Nights". Exactly which edition are you reading? (When and where was it published, by whom, who is the editor or translator, and so on.) Jun 2, 2018 at 12:10
  • In what way is the account in en.wikipedia.org/wiki/One_Thousand_and_One_Nights#Poetry and in en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arabic_poetry insufficient? Jun 2, 2018 at 12:23
  • I edited the original question. Please take a look.
    – Oberon
    Jun 4, 2018 at 14:10
  • The whole argument of Steven Moore's The Novel: An Alternative History is that there was no differentiation between poetry and prose literature before the invention of the modern novel. So maybe the power of poetry in your question is really the power of literature?
    – CJ Sheu
    Jul 10, 2018 at 8:13


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.