Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Frame Narrative of Sinbad from 1001 Nights and the Egyptian Middle Kingdom Poem "The Tale of the Shipwrecked Sailor"

First about the tale of Sinbad...
Sinbad the sailor was a rich man who had everything, but no one knew how he got such. He had quite a story to tell, but he never told anyone. That is until he met Sinbad the Landsman. Sinbad the Landsman accounted to him tales of the varying lots of men, and Sinbad the Sailor was pleased by this. He decided to tell his tale. He would hold one session a day for a week and there tell the story of his life.
This all, remember, is told within the tale of royal consort Shazirazad, who's life has involved her in telling the Sultan nightly tales for the sake of the land and her own life. Here she is telling the tale of the world that Sinbad appears in. Sinbad tells his tales.
The Arabian Nights, Canturbury Tales, the Decameron and Heptameron have been remarked for their layering of frames. Does anyone have any other sources for embedded frames in a poem or tale? Relevant to these two stories discussed or not; I dig frames in general, especailly older ones.

Well, on to the Story of the Shipwrecked Sailor...
A poem survives in St. Petersburg in an hermitage. This poem from 2040-1651BC The poem begins when a seaman is speaking to his captain who is going to meet the King to address some fault The sailor tells his captain a story to accompany the advice that "the speech of man can soften an angry heart and save a vulnerable man", which the captain is in no mood to hear. The Serpent the sailor met tells a tale of the loss of all the serpent had of meaning; he lost it without leaving to be castaway on some foreign island. All his family was taken from him in his own land.

The Sinbad story is a part of the Egyptian branch of the 1001 Nights. There are two distinct branches. The more conservative is from 13th century Syria. The Egyptian branch has seen much reworking. Stories added from many sources and some original stories deleted. Among the stories added is Sinbad's.

Here is a copy of something from the site "Invisible Books". It's the beginning of this Shipwreck story in

To translate English into hierogliphics, use http://www.quizland.com/hiero.mv

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