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The Arabian Nights and related topics

The Archive Library, 15 November 1996

The Arabian Nights' Entertainments

A collection of ancient Persian-Indian-Arabian tales, originally in Arabic, arranged in its present form about 1450, probably in Cairo, also known as A Thousand and One Nights.

Although the stories are discrete in plot, they are unified by Scheherazade, the supposed teller: she postpones her execution by telling her husband, Shahriyar, a story night after night, without revealing the climax until the following session.

The first European translation, into French, was Antoine Galland's 12-volume (1704-1717) free rendering of the oldest known manuscript, that of 1548. In 1840 Edward William Lane published a new scholarly English translation, omitting some tales (3 volumes).

John Payne's translation appeared in 9 volumes (1882-1884), and Sir Richard Burton's monumental English version,10 volumes, was issued only to subscribers by the Kamashastra Society of Benares in 1885-1886.

Among more recent editions is a 4 volume translation by Powys Mathers, completed in 1937, and a 2 volume translatifon by Husain Haddawy (1990-5).

Translated by Husain Haddawy, based on the text of 14th century Syrian Manuscript edited by Muhsin Mahdi
W.W. Norton & Co, NY, 1990. 428 pages.
Introduction: The World of The Arabian Nights / Dissemination and Manuscripts / The Printed Editions / The Mahdi Edition / Past Translations / The Present Translation: The Guiding Principles—The Prose—The Verse / Conclusion. Acknowledgements: A Note on the Transliteration: Map—The Territory of The Nights.

Prologue The Story of King Shahrayar and Shahrazad, his Vizier's Daughter
   The Tale of the Ox and the Donkey / Of the Merchant and his Wife
The Story of the Merchant and the Demon
   The first Old Man's Tale / The second Old Man's Tale
The Story of the Fisherman and the Demon
   The Tale of King Yunan and the Sage Duban / Tale of the Husband and the Parrot / Tale of the King's Son and the She-Ghoul / Tale of the Enchanted King
The Story of the Porter and the Three Ladies
   First Dervish's Tale / Second Dervish's Tale / Tale of the Envious and Envied / Third Dervish's Tale / Tale of the First Lady, Mistress of the House / Tale of the Second Lady, the Flogged One
The Story of the Three Apples
The Story of the two Viziers
The Story of the Hunchback
   Christian Broker's Tale: the Young Man with the Severed Hand and the Girl / The Steward's Tale: the Young Man from Baghdad and Lady Zubaida's Maid / The Jewish Physician's Tale: Young Man from Mosul and the Murdered Girl / The Tailor's Tale: the Lame Young Man from Baghdad and the Barber / The Barber's Tale / The Tale of the First Brother, the Hunchbacked Tailor / Tale of the Second Brother, Baqbaqa the Paraplegic / Tale of the Third Brother, Faqfaq the Blind / Tale of the Fourth Brother the One-Eyed Butcher/ Tale of the Fifth Brother, the Cropped of Ears / Tale of the Sixth Brother, the Cropped of Lips
The Story of Nur al-Din Ali ibn-Bakkar and the Slave-Girl Shams al-Nahar
The Story of the Slave-Girl Anis al-Jalis and Nur al-Din Ali ibn-Khaqan
The Story of Jullanar of the Sea
Translator's Postscript.

Sindbad and Other Popular Stories, translated by Husain Haddawy
W.W. Norton & Co, NY, 1995. 266 pages.

Map: The World of The Arabian Nights II
The Story of Sindbad the Sailor
   First Voyage / Second Voyage / Third Voyage / Fourth Voyage / Fifth Voyage / Sixth Voyage / Seventh Voyage.
The Story of 'Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves
The Story of 'Ala al-Din and the Magic Lamp
The Story of Qamar al-Zaman and His Two Sons, Amjad and As'ad
   The Adventures of Qamar al-Zaman's Two Sons / Tale of Ni'ma and Nu'am
   Conclusion of the Story of Qamar al-Zaman

Rendered into English from the Literal and Complete French Translation of Dr.J.C. Mardrus by Powys Mathers
Routledge Paperback, reprinted 1989.
"For this revised edition... all names and places and all Arabic words retained in the text have, where necessary, been compared with and corrected by Macnaghten's Calcutta Edition of the original (1839-42)"

VOLUME 1 [644 pages]
The Tale of King Shahryar and of his brother, King Shahzaman
   The Fable of the Ass, the Bull and the Husbandman
The Tale of the Merchant and the Ifrit
   The Tale of the First Sheikh, Second and Third Sheikh
The Fisherman and the Jinni
   The Tale of the Wazir of King Yunan and Rayyan the Doctor:
   The Tale of King Sindbad and the Falcon / Tale of the Prince and the Ogress / Tale of the Young Man and the Fishes
The Tale of the Porter and the Young Girls
   Tales of the First, Second and Third Kalandars / Tale of Zubaidah, the First of the Girls / Tale of the Portress Aminah
The Tale of the Woman cut in pieces, the Three Apples and the Negro Raihan
The Tale of the Wazir Nur al-Din, his brother the Wazr Shams al-Din, and Hasan Badr al-Din
The Tale of the Hunchback with the Tailor, the Christian Broker, the Steward and the Jewish Doctor; what followed after; and the tales which each of them told, including
   The Tale of the Lame Man with the Barber of Baghdad
The Tale of the Barber of Baghdad and the Tales of his Six Brothers
   The Tale of the Barber / Tale of Bakbuk / Tale of al-Haddar / Tale of Bakbak / Tale of al-Kuz / Tale of al-Ashar / Tale of Shakkashik
The Tale of Sweet-Friend and Ali-Nur
The Tale of Ghanim Ibn Ayyub and his Sister Fitnah
   The Tale of the Negro Sawwab, the First Sudanese Eunuch / Tale of the Negro Kafur, the Second Sudanese Eunuch / Tale of the Negro Bukhait, the Third Sudanese Eunuch
The Tale of King Umar al-Numan and his two Remarkable Sons, Sharkan and Du al-Makan
   The Sayings on the Three Doors / The Tale of the Death of King Umar al-Numan and the Admirable Discourses which Went Before it: The Discourses of the First, Second, Third, Fourth, and Fifth Girls / Discourse of the Old Woman
The Tale of the Monastery
The Tale of Aziz and Azizah, and of Prince Taj al-Muluk, Crown of Kings
   The Tale of Princess Dunya and Prince Taj al-Muluk / The Adventures of Young Kana ma Kana, Son of Du al-Makan / The Tale of the Hashish Eater / The Tale of Hammad the Badawj
The Delightful Tale of the Beasts and the Birds
   Tale of the Goose, the Peacock and the Peahen / Tale of the Shepherd and the Girl / Tale of the Tortoise and Heron / Tale of the Wolf and Fox / Tale of the Mouse and Weasel / Tale of the Crow and the Fox
The Tale of Ali Ibn Bakr and the Fair Shams al-Nahar

VOLUME 2 [592 pages]
The Tale of Kamar al-Zaman and the Princess Budur, Moon of Moons
The Tale of Happy-Handsome and Happy-Fair
The Tale of Ala al-Din Abu Shamat
The Tale of Sympathy the Learned
An Adventure of the Poet Abu Nuwas
The Tale of Sinbad the Sailor    The First Voyage / Second Voyage / Third Voyage / Fourth Voyage / Fifth Voyage / Sixth Voyage / Seventh and Last Voyage
The Tale of Zumurrud the Beautiful, and of Ali Shar, Son of Glory
The Tale of the Six Different Coloured Girls
The Extraordinary Tale of the City of Brass
The Tale of Ibn al-Mansur and the Two Girls
The Tale of Wardan the Butcher and the Wazir's Daughter
The Tale of Yamlika, Queen of the Serpents
   The Tale of Bululiya / The Tale of the Fair Sad Youth
The Flowering Terrace of Wit and Garden of Gallantry
   Al-Rashid and the Fart / The Youth and His Master / The Wonderful Bag / Al-Rashid judges of Love / Which is the better, a Youth or a Ripe Man? / The Price of Cucumbers / White Hair / A Difficulty Resolved / Abu Nuwas and Zubaidah's Bath / Abu Nuwas Improvises / The Ass / Zubaidah caught in the Act / Male or Female? / The Share / The Schoolmaster / Inscription on a Chemise / Inscription on a Cup / The Khalifah in the Basket / The Tripe-Cleaner / The Girl Cool-of-the-Eyes / Girls or Boys ?
The Strange Khalifah
The Tale of Rose-in-the-Bud and World's-Delight
The Magic Tale of the Ebony Horse
The Tale of the Shifts of Delilah-the-Wily and her Daughter Zainab-the-Cheat, with Ahmad-the-Moth, Hasan-the-Pest, and Ali Quick-Silver
The Tale of Judar the Fisherman or The Enchanted Bag

VOLUME 3 [569 pages]
The Tale of Abu Kir and Abu Sir
Moral Anecdotes from The Perfumed Garden
   The Three Wishes / The Boy and the Rubber / There is White and White
The Tale of Land Abdallah and Sea Abdallah
The Tale of the Yellow Youth
The Tale of the Pomegranate-Flower and Badr Basim
Ishak's Winter Evening
The Fallah of Egypt and His White Children
The Tale of Khalifah the Fisherman
The Adventures of Hasan of Basrah
The Diwan of Jovial and Indecent Folk
   The Historic Fart / The Two Jesters / A Woman's Trick
The Tale of the Sleeper Wakened
The Loves of Zain Al-Mawasif
The Tale of the Lazy Youth
The Tale of Young Nur and the Warrior Girl
The Recitals of Generosity and Conduct
   Salah al-Din and His Wazir / The Lovers' Tomb / The Divorce of Hind
The Strange Tale of Ala Al-Din and the Wonderful Lamp
The Parable of True Learning
Farizad of the Rose's Smile
The Tale of Kamar and the Expert Halimah
The Tale of the Leg of Mutton
The Keys of Destiny
The Diwan of Easy Jests and Laughing Wisdom
   The Everlasting Slippers / Buhlul the Jester / The Invitation to Universal Peace / The Tale of the Tied Points / The Tale of the Two Hashish-Eaters / The Tale of the Father of Farts / The Tale of the Kadi-Mule / The Kadi and the Ass's Foal / The Tale of the Astute Kadi / The Man Who Understood Women / The Hashish-Eater in Judgment
The Tale of Princess Nur Al-Nihar and the Lovely Jinniyah

VOLUME 4 [536 pages]
The Tale of Pearl-Harvest
The Tale of the Two Lives of Sultan Mahmud
The Tale of the Unending Treasure
The Adventures of the Royal Bastard
   The Tale of the Ape Youth / The First, Second and Third Madman's Tale
Wisdom below the Severed Heads
The Perfidy of Wives
   The Pastrycook's Tale / The Greengrocer's Tale / The Butcher's Tale /
   The First Clarinet's Tale
The Tale of Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves
The Meeting of Al-Rashid on the Bridge of Baghdad
   The Master of the White Mare / The Youth behind whom Indian and Chinese Airs were Played / The Generous Sheikh / The Split-Mouth Schoolmaster / The Blind Man who would be buffeted
The Tale of Princess Zulaikah
Sweet Tales of Careless Youth    Hard-Head and his Sister Little-Foot / The Anklet / The He-Goat and the King's Daughter / The Prince and the Tortoise / The Chick-Pea Seller's Daughter / The Looser / The Captain of Police / A Contest in Generosity / The Gelded Barber / Firuz and His Wife / The Mind and the Soil
The Tale of the Magic Book
The Splendid Tale of Prince Diamond
Some Jests and Suggestions of the Master of Shifts and Laughter
The Tale of the Girl Heart's-Miracle, Lieutenant of the Birds
The Tale of Al-Malik Baibars and His Captains of Police
   The Twelve Captains' Tales
The Tale of the Sea Rose of the Girl of China
The Tale of the Honey Cake and the Cobbler's Calamitous Wife
Windows on the Garden of History    The Poet Duraid, His Generosity, and His Love for Tumadir al-Khansah / Ufairah the Suns, and Hudhailah the Moons, the Warrior Daughters of the Poet Find / The Love Story of Princess Fatimah and the Poet Murakkish / The Vengeance of King Hujr / Men in the Judgment of their Wives / Tales of Umar ibn al-Khattab / Blue Salamah the Singer / The Tale of the Parasite / The Tale of the Slave of Destiny / The Tale of the Fateful Collar / Ishak of Mosul and the Lost Melody / The Two Dancers / The Pistachio Oil Cream, and the Legal Point / The Arab Girl at the Fountain/ The Perils of Insistence
The End of Jafar and the Barmakids
The Tender Tale of Prince Jasmine and Princess Almond

ARABIAN NIGHTS—The Book of a Thousand Nights and a Night
A selection from the translation by Sir Richard Francis Burton (published in 1885-8) issued to commemorate the centenary, and printed in order from the original Benares Club edition.
Bracken Books, London, 1994. 600 pages.

Story of King Shahryar and His Brother
   Tale of the Bull and the Ass
Tale of the Trader and the Jinni
   The First Shaykh's Story / Second Shaykh's Story / Third Shaykh's Story
The Fisherman and the Jinni
   The Tale of the Wazir and the Sage Duban / Story of King Sindibad and his Falcon / Tale of the Husband and his Parrot / Tale of the Princess and the Ogress / Tale of the Ensorcelled Prince
The Porter and the Three Ladies of Baghdad
   The First Kalandar's Tale / The Second Kalandar's Tale: Tale of the Envier and the Envied / The Third Kalandar's Tale / The Eldest Lady's Tale / Tale of the Portress / Conclusion
Tale of the Three Apples
Tale of Nur Al-Din Ali and his son Badr Al-Din Hasan
The Hunchback's Tale
   The Nazarene Broker's Story / The Reeve's Tale / Tale of the Jewish Doctor / Tale of the Tailor / The Barber's Tale of Himself: Of his First Brother, of his Second Brother, of his Third Brother, of his Fourth Brother, of his Fifth Brother, of his Sixth Brother / End of the Tailor's Tale
Nur Al-Din Ali and the Damsel Anis Al-Jalis
The Thief and his Monkey
   The Foolish Weaver
Abu Mohammed Hight Lazybones
The Ebony Horse
Sindbad the Seaman and Sindbad the Landsman
   The First Voyage / Second Voyage / Third Voyage / Fourth Voyage / Fifth Voyage / Sixth Voyage / Seventh Voyage
Judar and his Brethren
Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves


BARTH, John. [1974] André Deutsch/Quartet Pbk, 1977.
A reworking of Greek legends about Pegasus and Bellerophon but also a meditation on the nature of storytelling, with the author inserting himself in his narrative, masquerading as a time-travelling genie communing with Sheherazade ('Sherry') and her sister Dunyazade ('Doony')... 308 pages.

BARTH, John.Hodder & Stoughton/Sceptre Pbk 1992.
Another reworking of the Thousand and One Nights: shipwrecked off Sri Lanka while retracing one of Sindbad's legendary voyages, William Behler is mysteriously marooned in medieval Baghdad and the house of Sindbad himself. Despite being captivated by the mariner's beautiful daughter, Behler longs to return to the twentieth century and challenges Sindbad to a storytelling duel, hoping to find the thread that will lead him back... 573 pages.

BORGES, Jorge Luis. 1980] Faber & Faber Pbk 1987.
Includes an essay on the Nights. 121 pages.
[See also references in Other Inquisitions 1937-1952,p.45; in The Book of Imaginary Beings (1967); Borges on Writing (1973), etc).

IRWIN, Robert. Allen Lane/Penguin Press, London, 1994.
Traces the development of the stories from prehistoric India and Pharaonic Egypt to modern times, exploring the history of translation, and explains the ways in which its contents have been added to, plagiarized and imitated. It uses the stories as a guide to the social history and the counter-culture of the Medieval Near East and the world of the storyteller, the snake-charmer, the burglar, the sorcerer, the drug-addict, the treasure hunter, and the adulterer.

Introduction: Beautiful Infidels / The Book without Authors / Oceans of Stories/ The Storyteller's Craft / Street Entertainments / Low Life / Sexual Fictions / The Universe of Marvels / Formal Readings / Children of the Nights. Chronology; notes; index. 344 pages.

IRWIN, Robert. Dedalus 1983, pbk ed. 1992.
A philosophical fantasy. 266 pages.

ARABIAN SOCIETY IN THE MIDDLE AGES: Studies from The Thousand and One Nights
LANE, Edward William Edited by Stanley Lane-Poole.
Curzon Press, London, 1987.
Lane's compendious and learned footnotes to The Arabian Nights, together with other relevant material, explaining the conditions of life and society as they were at the time when The Thousand and One Nights assumed their present form. To extracts from famous Arabic historians and authors of the Middle Ages, Lane adds the results of personal experience of Arab society in Egypt and elsewhere toward the end of the last century. From this blending of record and experience, a picture emerges of the urban Islamic society which remained almost intact and unchanged until the opening of the 20thcentury. Index; List of authors & works quoted. 283 pages.


LEWIS, Bernard. Weidenfeld & Nicolson, London, 1995.
Describes the forces which shaped the history of the Middle East: the Islamic religion and legal system; the traditions of government; the immense variety of trade and the remarkably wide range of crops; the élites—military, commercial, religious, intellectual and artistic—and the commonalty, including such socially distinct groups as slaves, women and unbelievers. Reveals the huge Islamic contribution to the European life, as well as the European contribution to the Islamic world. Notes; Bibliographical Note; Chronology; Maps; Index. 433pp.

LEWIS, Bernard. Phoenix pbk, 1994
Examines the sources and nature of Muslim knowledge of the West. Explores the subtle ways in which Europe and Islam have influenced each other over seven centuries, retelling familiar historical events from an Arab perspective. Notes; Index. 350 pages.

McLYNN, Frank. John Murray, London, 1990.
This centennial biography draws on new material from a wealth of untapped manuscript sources in order to clarify events in Burton's life hitherto dealt with sketchily if at all. Chapter on the Arabian Nights and mentions throughout text. Notes; A list of Burton's Books; Index. 428 pages.

MAFOUZ, Naguib. [1979] Translation by Denys Johnson-Davies.
Doubleday, 1995.
A novel that begins where The Arabian Nights ended. "Thirteen unconnected tales from The Arabian Nights rendered afresh through the techniques of modernism... so manipulated that they join up in a narrative continuum". (TLS) 228 pages.

RUSHDIE, Salman. Cape, London, 1981.
Saleem Sinai, one of 1001 children born on the night of India's independence, immerses himself at an early age in the stories of Sinbad, Aladdin and the Genie of the Lamp, before embarking on his own magical adventures. 446 pages.

RUSHDIE, Salman. Viking, 1988.
The stories of the protagonists, Gibreel Farishta and Saladin Chamcha, frame yet other stories of wonder and magic, and images from the Nights are given a surrealistic reworking... like the glass genie who is his own bottle. 550 pages.

RUSHDIE, Salman. Granta Books, 1990.
Intertextual children's book; storytelling is like juggling, you keep a lot of different tales in the air, and if you're good you don't drop any... 218 pages.

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