The hero cycles of Arabic belong to the literary tradition of The Arabian Nights and can be seen as the popular epics of their civilisation. The Arabian epic covers eleven of the main representatives of this genre. Each of these has been developed through the processes of accretive oral story-telling by means of an accumulation of narrative and folklore motifs, many of which belong to what can be seen as a universal tradition. The work is published in three volumes. The first volume introduces the background and the dimensions in which the cycles are set, while the second volume analyses their contents and the literary formulae used in their construction, as well as listing analogues found in other literatures. The epitomes surveyed in the final volume provide non-Arabists with a more immediate insight into the contents of the cycles, drawing attention to their narrative colouring and texture.
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