Marina Warner's recent lecture ‘Figures in the Carpet: Magic and the 1001 Nights’, which I blogged about here, is now available as a podcast.
If, like me, you love books of hers, such as From the Beast to the Blonde and Phantasmagoria, then you'll really enjoy this (and if you haven't read those books you definitely should!). Warner has a wonderful way of bringing together all kinds of fascinating tidbits from the realms of history, culture and myth, and exploring the connections between them in an engaging and enlightening way.
In this lecture she examines the magic of the flying carpet, from its earliest association with Solomon, through its appearances in the Nights, and in its ongoing influence as a 'metaphor activated as fact'. She explores human fantasies of flight, and some of the other domestic flying vehicles of folklore (including beds and sofas), before settling on Freud's couch and the importance of its own 'magic carpet'.
You can listen to or download the podcast from the Queen Mary, University of London website here.
Photograph by Elke Bock 2003
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