Sunday, May 13, 2007

Arabian Nights & Lovecraft

It's well known that Lovecraft adored the Andrew Lang version of The Arabian Nights. But in all place, I ofund in an obscure book (1) on Bram Stoker's Dracula - the movie - this interesting historical anecdote.

"The incident where Mina and Lucy excitedly peruse a volume of the Arabian Nights, we are immediately reminded of ... Stoker's novel. ... Bram Stoker met {Richard} Burton (translater of the Arabian Nights, not the movie star of the mid-20th century} in the 1880's and wrote how impressed he was ... The Arabian Nights comtains a vampire tale. Johnathan Harker comments ... "This diary seems horribly like the beginning of the 'Arabian Nights' for everything has to break off at cockcorw."

Burton scandalized Victorian England, but still the Victorians on both sides of the Atlantic were entranced by the Tales and settings.

Lovecraft was a product of his times - or at least his grandfather's times - and one wonders if he was swept up in the fad for the Arabian Nights and guided there by family members. Hence, Abdul Alhazrad?

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