The most famous of all story collections, "The Arabian Nights,
"also known as "The Book of the Thousand and One Nights, "is
beloved around the world. Composed of Persian, Arabic, Greek,
Indian, and other sources that accumulated over hundreds of years,
these fabulous stories-within-stories have long fired readers'
imaginations with an enchanted world of flying carpets, magic
lamps, genies, demons, magicians and sorceresses, carnivorous
giants, and bloodthirsty bandits.
Translation has played a key role in the formation of
"The""Arabian Nights" as we know it, making it far more prominent
in the West than it has ever been in the Arab world. Westerners'
first discovery of some of the tales in the early eighteenth
century sparked a feverish thirst for more, which led to
compilations that freely adapted, reconfigured, and even added to
the originals. The resulting love affair with the art,
architecture, literature, cuisine, and culture of the East
significantly remapped the European literary landscape.
Editor Wen-chin Ouyang has compiled a carefully chosen selection
from influential English translations, showcasing the strengths of
different translators, including Richard Burton, Edward Lane,
Jonathan Scott, and John Payne. Here are Shahrazad, Sinbad the
Sailor, Aladdin, Ali Baba, and many more, in the most readable and
enjoyable versions available.
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