George Prochnik

  • In Charm’s Way

    When the young Samuel Coleridge discovered The Arabian Nights’ Entertainment in 1798, the book so impressed him that he became, he wrote, “haunted by spectres.” His father, aghast at the effect the Nights was having, torched the child’s copy of the tales. But they’d already worked their spell. Coleridge credits the book with turning him into a dreamer, indisposed to all bodily activity, “fretful, and inordinately passionate.”

    Marina Warner’s Stranger Magic has a double mission: On the one hand, the author traces, with a swelling, orchestral richness, why the Nights held such potent sway over