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The Arabian Nights: Tales from a Thousand and One Nights

by Richard Burton

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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1,540238,888 (3.91)106
Full of mischief, valor, ribaldry, and romance, The Arabian Nights has enthralled readers for centuries. These are the tales that saved the life of Shahrazad, whose husband, the king, executed each of his wives after a single night of marriage. Beginning an enchanting story each evening, Shahrazad always withheld the ending: A thousand and one nights later, her life was spared forever. This volume reproduces the 1932 Modern Library edition, for which Bennett A. Cerf chose the most famous and representative stories from Sir Richard F. Burton's multivolume translation, and includes Burton's extensive and acclaimed explanatory notes. These tales, including Alaeddin; or, the Wonderful Lamp, Sinbad the Seaman and Sinbad the Landsman, and Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves, have entered into the popular imagination, demonstrating that Shahrazad's spell remains unbroken.… (more)
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» See also 106 mentions

English (21)  Portuguese (1)  All languages (22)
Showing 1-5 of 21 (next | show all)
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  ejmw | Aug 4, 2021 |
The Arabian Nights, also familiar in the West as One Thousand and One Nights is a collection of Middle Eastern folktales whose origins reach back more than a thousand years. The tales begin with a king, Shahryar, who discovers his wife's infidelity, and he vows to marry a new woman each night but have her killed the next morning to eliminate the possibility of being betrayed again. This goes on for some time (the carnage is certainly piling up) when Shahrazad, daughter of his right-hand man and who has a few tricks up her sleeve, offers herself as his next bride. Her cunning strategy is to tell a folktale each night with the suggestion of more to come, leaving Shahryar so curious about what happens next in the narrative that he will allow her to live another night in order to find out. What follows make up what has been a rich Middle Eastern oral and literary tradition that includes, among many others, such well-known tales as Sindbad the Seaman, Alaeddin, and Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves.

The translation I read was Burton's 1889 edition, which was written in archaic language such as "thee," "thou," "quoth" and "doest," and abounded with unfamiliar vocabulary like "wot," "haply," "gugglet," "rede" and "weet." Including notes, it is 872 very dense pages (virtually no paragraph breaks) and to digest more than 10-15 pages in a sitting was a challenge in focus. For that reason I used it to fulfill the Read Harder 2021 category 'a book you've been intimidated to read.' Modern readers may find the sheer amount of racism, misogyny, incest, slavery, murder and other disturbingly cruel violence, theft and backstabbing in these stories uncomfortable. There is also much tearing of clothes and heaving of dust onto one's head, which I surmise is how grief is depicted, as well as truly endless numbers of shipwrecks (Sindbad was a glutton for punishment in a most baffling way). It should be noted that a remarkable number of times it is women and their cooler heads who save the day! I feel something of an accomplishment to have finally, successfully made my way through this book, so I'm feeling pretty triumphant about that, as well as pleased to know a little more about this legendary icon of world literature. ( )
  ryner | Jan 11, 2021 |
A selection of stories from the 1,001 nights. The selection features some amazing mythical tales and spectacular adventures, and for the most part is brilliant. Some strange continuity with the tale of Scheherazade and the king, which is normal for a selected series of stories. But otherwise, this book (a beautiful object too) is a terrific introduction to the Middle Eastern storytelling epic. ( )
  ephemeral_future | Aug 20, 2020 |
These are great stories however you shake it. Way more adult than we are led to be and downright spooky in some cases. Lots of adventure, bad guys and characters who come to life. NO walt disney here. ( )
  Joe73 | Apr 29, 2020 |
The unabridged version is huge, but it comes with a glossary of sorts in the back. No flying carpet anywhere in the entire tome--blast Disney. These stories were handed down long before Islam became a religion backed by the Koran, so this book offers keen insights into the culture it came from. Just as bloody and frightening as the original Grimm's Fairy Tales. ( )
  JoniMFisher | Sep 19, 2019 |
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» Add other authors (32 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Richard Burtonprimary authorall editionscalculated
Addington Symonds, JohnContributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bishop, IsabelContributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Byatt, A.S.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cerf, BennettEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Savage, StelleIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Swinburne, Algernon CharlesContributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
The NationContributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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This Modern Library edition is a rearranged selection by Bennet Cerf from the Burton translation. The most recent paperback editions are introduced by A. S. Byatt. ISBNs include: 0679602356, 0812972147 and 0375756752.

Please DO NOT combine this work with other abridgements unless they have the same ISBN or you have confirmed they are exactly the same work with the same translator/editor. Please DO NOT combine abridgements with complete works. If you see abridgements and complete sets/editions combined together, please help by separating them. If in doubt, please DO NOT combine. Especially not when combining large numbers of copies. It takes a lot of time and effort to separate and recombine works.
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Full of mischief, valor, ribaldry, and romance, The Arabian Nights has enthralled readers for centuries. These are the tales that saved the life of Shahrazad, whose husband, the king, executed each of his wives after a single night of marriage. Beginning an enchanting story each evening, Shahrazad always withheld the ending: A thousand and one nights later, her life was spared forever. This volume reproduces the 1932 Modern Library edition, for which Bennett A. Cerf chose the most famous and representative stories from Sir Richard F. Burton's multivolume translation, and includes Burton's extensive and acclaimed explanatory notes. These tales, including Alaeddin; or, the Wonderful Lamp, Sinbad the Seaman and Sinbad the Landsman, and Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves, have entered into the popular imagination, demonstrating that Shahrazad's spell remains unbroken.

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