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How the Arabian Nights Inspired the American Dream 1791–1935$
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Susan Nance

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780807832745

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.5149/9780807894057_nance

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Capitalism and the Arabian Nights, 1790–1892

Capitalism and the Arabian Nights, 1790–1892

(p.19) Chapter 1 Capitalism and the Arabian Nights, 1790–1892
How the Arabian Nights Inspired the American Dream 1791–1935

Susan Nance

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter sets the stage with the story of how the Arabian Nights inspired the dream of contented and abundant consumption in the United States during the nineteenth century. It was in admiration of the Nights that Americans began to play Eastern, first in print; then as tourists in the Middle East; then at home as consumers who decorated their parlors in a cluttered Oriental-tale style that evoked ease and plenty while celebrating consumer choice. In many of these cases, the character of Aladdin, made suddenly rich by rubbing an old lamp, stood as an apt metaphor for the vast capitalist transformation taking place in the nation.

Keywords:   Aladdin, Arabian Nights, consumption

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