one thousand and one nights


Literature:  The Wrath and The dawn by Renee Ahdieh

Some things exist in our lives for but a brief moment. And we must let them go on to light another sky.

The explicitness of the sexual encounter between the two girls is not evident in the English translation, for it rests on the use of the Arabic verb “dakhala” (to enter) twice in the above quote, first with the preposition ’“ala” (“they made Hayat al-Nefous enter into the room where Boudour was”) and then with the preposition “ila” (“Boudour entered into Hayat al-Nefous”). What must first be noted is the fact that the Arabic verb “dakhala” - meaning to enter, to penetrate - does not require the use of any preposition. The fact that the redactor chose to add not one, but two different prepositions with this verb must therefore make us pause. In its first occurrence with the preposition ’“ala,” the audience is led to understand that Boudour is already in the room into which Hayat al-Nefous is led. The second use of the verb “dakhala” with “ila” comes therefore as a surprise since such a combination can only mean to penetrate into a physical space, or to penetrate sexually, to have intercourse. In the context of this scene, only the second meaning of “dakhala ila” is possible, leading us to conclude that Boudour and Hayat al-Nefous’s initial encounter is utterly sexual.
—  Sahar Amer on ‘The Story of Qamar al-Zaman and Princess Boudour’ from the One Thousand and One Nights in Crossing Borders: Love Between Women in Medieval French and Arabic Literatures (2013)

“I feel certain you should not hold yourself responsible for anything that transpired, not that night or any of the nights after. I am young, and, therefore, I know my words only carry a certain weight with the world, but I do know enough to realize you cannot control the actions of others. You can only control what you do with yourself afterward.”

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Chapter 30: The Rubble and the Rising [ AO3 ] | [ ]

“Someday,” he murmured, “will you tell me what all the stories meant?”

Yes, she wanted to say instantly, yes, I’ll tell you everything -

“Hard to imagine the possibility of ‘someday’ at the moment,” she confessed instead, and he sighed, pressing his lips to her jaw. “This is a new war for you,” she reminded him, turning in his arms to draw her fingers along his cheek, “but I’ve been fighting it for a very long time.”

The words seemed to weigh on him.

“I won’t promise you that this is the last war you ever fight,” he said. “I can’t promise you that. But I promise you I will keep fighting.” He leant his forehead against hers, shaking his head. “Every time you’ve entered my life, I’ve been presented with a turn,” he reminded her, “and I have faced you with indecision-”

“And now?” she asked, swallowing.

He leaned forward to kiss her slowly, the swell of his lips brushing hers and then deepening, his fingers tightening on her waist.

“If you lose,” he murmured, “I lose.”

Because she knew, instinctively, that he was there. There was no logical explanation for it, but she felt his presence behind her, like the subtle change in seasons. A shift in the wind.
—  Renée Ahdieh, The Wrath and the Dawn

literature women // scheherazade

scheherazade possessed courage, wit, and penetration. she had read much, and had so admirable a memory, that she never forgot any thing she had read. she had successfully applied herself to philosophy, medicine, history, and the liberal arts; and her poetry excelled the compositions of the best writers of her time. besides this, she was a perfect beauty, and all her accomplishments were crowned by solid virtue.