George Thompson george.thompson at NYU.EDU
Mon Jan 20 23:08:42 UTC 2014

Did Scheherazade's stories break off at the onset of a cataclysm?  Or did
they just break off?
I suppose that this is a good reason to reread some of the Arabian Nights.
I once owned the Viking Portable collection, but where is it now?  (I'm
tempted to break off this email at this point.)

In any event, Joel's story I would think has a good chance of being the
first example of the trick in English.  It needs a form of literary
packaging that would reward the packager for enticing readers to buy the
next installment.  A Decameron-type setting of a series of stories told to
pass the time wouldn't present this reward, nor the circulation of stories
in manuscript, and the practice of publishing novels in parts can't have
been much earlier than Dickens, I suppose.  Perhaps the practice of telling
stories around a tavern fireplace?
1739 is pretty early in the history of newspapers.


On Mon, Jan 20, 2014 at 4:34 PM, W Brewer <brewerwa at gmail.com> wrote:

> <<The tales themselves trace their roots back to ancient and medieval
> Arabic, Persian, Indian, Egyptian and Mesopotamian folklore and
> literature>>
> Arabic 9th c; . . . Antoine Galland, first European translator, Les mille
> et une nuits) 1704-1717; first English edition, anonymous 1706; Edward Lane
> 1840, 1859; John Payne 1882; Richard Burton 1885; Lyons & Lyons 2008.
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/One_Thousand_and_One_Nights
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

George A. Thompson
Author of A Documentary History of "The African Theatre", Northwestern
Univ. Pr., 1998, but nothing much since then.

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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