22 Oct 2011 5:00pm - 7:00pm CRASSH, 17 Mill Lane, Cambridge



A lecture by Marina Warner (Literature and Creative Writing, Essex University) as part of the University of Cambridge's Festival of Ideas 2011. There will also be the opportunity to buy a copy of her new book, launching at this event, Stranger Magic: Charmed States and the Arabian Nights.


Jinn – or genies – are the agents of the drama in the stories of the Arabian Nights. They are angelic – and demonic. Made of fire and wind, they fly unaided and wingless through time and space. They are everywhere, invisible and visible, can tower to the skies or shrink into a bottle, marry humans and have children with them, wreak vengeance, turn into animals, and conjure vast fortunes into existence. Their presence charms ordinary things. Solomon commands thousands of those who have repented, but others remain obdurate in their rebellion.

Why did stories featuring such capricious powers from the medieval Arabic literature of aja'ib (astonishing things) attract readers and audiences in the eighteenth century, the era of Enlightenment, when the Arabian Nights first appeared in print in translation? 

About Marina Warner

Marina Warner is a writer of fiction, criticism and history; her works include novels and short stories as well as studies of art, myths, symbols, and fairytales.

She has just completed a book ‘Stranger Magic: Charmed States and the Arabian Nights’.


Tel: +44 1223 766886
Email enquiries@crassh.cam.ac.uk