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When Scheherazade Fails: The Story of Balāsh and the Indian Princess

Jaakko Hämeen-Anttila


Pages 303 - 316



The originally Persian Balāsh and the Princess (eighth or ninth century) is only preserved in translation in anonymous Arabic works, Nihāyat al-arab (and its later Persian translation, Tajārib al-umam) and Ps.-al-Jāḥiẓ, Maḥāsin. Its frame story is remarkably similar to that of the Arabian Nights, which is assumed to have been translated into Arabic at the same time as Balāsh. This article traces its early history and analyses it, discussing the use of embedded stories, narrators, and themes of otherness and belonging.



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