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UBC Theses and Dissertations

An approach to the Arabian Nights, and its influence on The Legend of the Wandering King, by Laura Gallego García Quintana Crelis, Laura


This thesis presents an approach to the Arabian Nights and to Laura Gallego García’s The Legend of the Wandering King through the lenses of the metaphors offered by Jorge Luis Borges in his poem entitled “Metaphors of The One Thousand and One Nights.” The Arabian Nights includes a great variety of tales covering fables, poems, riddles, moral and fantasy stories, tales of epic content, and stories of chivalry. Borges’ metaphors provide a useful tool in analyzing a book that encompasses such a wide range of genres and content. The metaphor of the river refers to the variety, unity and movement in the stories, and also to the labyrinthine structure that is built up thanks to the recurring rhetorical device of the mise en abyme. The metaphor of the weft of a tapestry refers to the coherence present in the book, despite the fact that the stories are varied. The metaphor of the dream refers to the oneiric content of the book, and anticipates what the book does with time, which is the last of Borges’ metaphors. These four metaphors allow the reader to identify a clear purpose in the Arabian Nights, one that is related to the fact that the structure we find of stories within stories creates a dream-like world that dismantles the idea of reality. King Schahriyar is a representation of the reader, wandering in a labyrinth of mirage-like stories, in an inner journey that will transform him into another man. The power of storytelling is shown in the frame story of the Arabian Nights, but the book in general also treats human passions and inclinations that have guided King Schahriyar to become the monster he initially is. The book takes us through his moral rehabilitation, and also describes the emotional abysses that he and the reader are forced to confront during such rehabilitation. The Legend of the Wandering King is a novel for young adults that Gallego García wrote with the Arabian Nights as its influence. Borges’ metaphors allow a revealing interpretation of this book and of its main character, Walid.

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