The Arabian Nights
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The Arabian Nights
Literature
Aug 1, 2018
Is there an entry in the annals of story more charming than the tale of the brave and brilliant Shahrazad, who, by dint of cunning and invention, puts off her death at the hands of King Shahryār for a thousand and one nights? Bewitching the king with a nightly dose of suspenseful storytelling, she subverts his custom of killing his consorts at dawn by leaving him yearning to discover what comes next. The stories she unfolds to assuage the violent passions of the king add to our enchantment with her own fate as we pass through the boxes within boxes that make up The Arabian Nights. The best introduction for modern English readers is found in the two volumes of translations made by Husain Haddawy in the 1990s. The first volume, based on a reconstruction by Muhsin Mahdi of the oldest extant text, a fourteenth-century Syrian manuscript, presents an assortment of authentic tales in which magic, love, learning, and mischief fuel adventures both mundane and supernatural for demons and viziers, kings and thieves, maids and merchants. In his second volume, Haddawy offers faithful, fresh versions of the most popular later stories—including those of Sindbad the Sailor, Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves, and Aladdin and the Magic Lamp—that were added to the original constellation of stories as the scope of the Nights grew in later centuries. Each of Haddawy’s volumes provides fodder for a thousand dreams.
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Oct 28, 2018
The Arabian Nights seemed so magical to me as a child...it was about a place so far away, so far from my experience that I could hardly credit its existence.
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Read as a child still love it.
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Captivating and enchanting book; but hard to keep going, with lots of repetition of themes. I got the Richard Burton (the explorer/linguist, not that Welsh actor) translation, which is poetic and raunchy. Great fun
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A great representation of Arabian culture
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I can only say that the 16-volume Burton translation is the best. What a tapestry!
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Aside from the great stories, I love the set-up. The concubine stretching out her life one night at a time through great skill as a storyteller.
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it was one of my favourite books as a child
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A beautiful and wonderful book. I've read it multiple times. Every girl should read this in their teens and then later in life.
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