Synopses & Reviews
The Arabian Nights: A Companion
guides the reader into this celebrated labyrinth of storytelling. It traces the development of the stories from prehistoric India and Pharaonic Egypt to modern times. It explores the history of the translation, and explains the ways in which its contents have been added to, plagiarized and imitated. Above all, the book uses the stories as a guide to the social history and the counterculture 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.
"... an enthralling cascade of the arcane and the exotic."--Peter Kemp, Sunday Times
"... story after story, wonder upon wonder. This monumental, infinitely faceted gem should be every writer's bedtime sampler."--Michael Moorcock, New Statesman & Society
"A generous and erudite book...We're in the company of someone who loves The Arabian Nights, and who has generously shared that love with us through this companion."--Michele Roberts, Independent on Sunday
"Matching The Arabian Nights' scope and enchantment with erudition and wit, Irwin explores its elusive kingdom of stories, delving into the vast work's textual genesis, cultural history, and literary legacy."--Kirkus Reviews on 1994 Edition
"Superlative...just the sort of relaxed, informative book that Edumund Wilson might have written had he grown interested in the Middle East and its early literature."--Michael Dirda, Washington Post
About the Author
is the Middle East editor for the Times Literary Supplement
and a prolific author.
Table of Contents
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