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The Arabian Nightsby Husain Haddawy
Synopses & Reviews
Husain Haddawy's rapturously received translation of The Arabian Nights is based on a landmark reconstruction of the earliest extant manuscript version. These stories (and stories within stories, and stories within stories within stories), told by the Princess Shahrazad under the threat of death if she ceases to amuse, first reached the West around 1700. They fired in the European imagination an appetite for the mysterious and exotic which has never left it. Collected over centuries from India, Persia, and Arabia, and ranging from vivacious erotica, animal fables, and adventure fantasies to pointed Sufi tales, the stories of The Arabian Nights provided the daily entertainment of the medieval Islamic world at the height of its glory. The present new translation by Husain Haddawy is of the Mahdi edition, the definitive Arabic edition of a fourteenth-century Syrian manuscript in the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris, which is the oldest surviving version of the tales and is considered to be the most authentic. This early version is without the embellishments and additions that appear in later Indian and Egyptian manuscripts, on which all previous English translations were based.
Now as sumptuously packaged as they are critically acclaimed--new deluxe trade paperback editions of the beloved stories.
The stories of ?(and stories within stories, and stories within stories within stories) are famously told by the Princess Shahrazad, under the threat of death should the king lose interest in her tale. Collected over the centuries from India, Persia, and Arabia, and ranging from adventure fantasies, vivacious erotica, and animal fables, to pointed Sufi tales, these stories provided the daily entertainment of the medieval Islamic world at the height of its glory. No one knows exactly when a given story originated, and many circulated orally for centuries before being written down; but in the process of telling and retelling, they were modified to reflect the general life and customs of the Arab society that adapted them--a distinctive synthesis that marks the cultural and artistic history of Islam.
This work is based on Muhsin Mahdi's reconstruction of the original Nights. The tales portray a world of magic, wish-fulfillment and pleasure, depicting the marriage of the supernatural to the ordinary and the sacred to the profane.
About the Author
Husain Haddawy was born and grew up in Baghdad, taught English and comparative literature at various American universities, wrote art criticism, and is now living in retirement in Thailand.
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