(urth) 7AN: The Adventures of Hajji Baba

James Wynn crushtv at gmail.com
Tue Oct 26 08:20:49 PDT 2010

I love this sort of post.

That he is punished in the place of another, Molah Nadan is a Christ figure.

On 10/22/2010 5:55 PM, Dave Tallman wrote:
> James Morier's Hajji Baba of Ispahan, The Adventures of Hajji Baba 
> <http://hajji.netfirms.com/index.html> is a famous book that may be a 
> source Wolfe drew on for ideas and character names in "Seven American 
> Nights". This book was written in the 1800's and details the 
> picaresque adventures of Hajji Baba, a barber. It features characters 
> named the Mollah Nadan, Mirza Amak, and Osman Aga. Credit for this 
> find goes to JazzCat, a poster on http;//usefulphrases.yuku.com 
> <http://usefulphrases.yuku.com> (It's interesting that in this work 
> the name Nadan is given to a religious leader, a mullah).
> According to Robert Borski's posting on urth.net <http://urth.net>:
>     While seeming a plausible Arab name, "Nadan," in fact, is 
> something you
>     would be ill-mannered in calling anyone. In Farsi it means 
> "stupid, idiot;"
>     therefore, by extension, the same thing that 'cretin' does.
> With the discovery of "The Adventures of Hajji Baba" that claim about 
> Nadan's name is partially invalidated. In translation, "Hadjji Baba" 
> is a well-known work of Persian literature, and any name drawn from it 
> would be a reasonable name for a child. In the printed text of the 
> English version of the book (available online through Google books), 
> the name shows up as "Molah Nadân". According to 
> http://www.khamush.com/persian/rubaie236.htm, "Nadân-ám" 
> means "I cannot."
> I'm becoming convinced that Wolfe read this book as part of his 
> background research for the story and picked that name deliberately. 
> Molah Nadan changes clothing with the narrator and ends up being 
> punished for a crime in his place. A Christ figure, perhaps?
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