Time’s Running Out for Scheherazade by Fawzia Zouari (tr. Judith Landry)

I read this excellent essay in Banipal 39 – Modern Tunisian Literature (2010)

a nutshell: a strident renunciation of society’s expectation that women’s words serve men, Zouari kicks out at the story of Scheherazade narrating tales only to distract her would-be murderous husband

a line: “From now on, I am the author of a story which is its own wellspring, not a bid for reprieve”

an image: walking from age to age without raising one’s voice or setting one’s feet where an echo might ring out, women have been silenced through ‘silken wings’ or weighty gold – male attempts to assuage their appetite for flight

a thought: the writer is now invested in “I” and turns her gaze inward rather than downward; her stories are for the purpose of better living with herself

a fact: the story of Scheherazade, which frames the collection of Middle Eastern folklore, One Thousand and One Nights, sees the young woman spend 1001 nights narrating cliff-hanger tales to her monarchical husband, Shahryar, so he’d let her live another day (all his previous wives had been beheaded)

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