Synopses & Reviews
The first English translation of this spectacular collection of medieval Arab fantasy stories
A great cache of ancient, magical stories in the same tradition as The Arabian Nights, Tales of the Marvellous and News of the Strange is an extraordinary find. Dating from at least a millennium ago, these are the earliest-known Arabic short stories, which survived in a single, ragged manuscript in a library in Istanbul. Some found their way into The Arabian Nights, but most have never been read in English before. Composed to fascinate their original audiences, these charming, surreal, baffling, and beautiful stories are indeed both marvelous and strange.
"A magnificent, unexpurgated edition of the greatest collection of folk tales in the world . . . The Arabian Nights
is not a book to be read in a week. It is an ocean of stories to be dipped into over a lifetime. And this new Penguin edition is the one to have."
-The Sunday Times (London)
"The translation . . . ought to become the standard one for the present century."
-The Times Literary Supplement
"These magnificent volumes are the most ambitious and thorough translation into English of The Arabian Nights since the age of Queen Victoria and the British Empire."
"This new translation of the world's greatest collection of folk stories restores their colour and verve."
-The Sunday Times (London)
"A revelation—a real classic of popular literature, so fluent that it is not just addictive reading but a genuine pleasure to sit down and lose yourself."
Every night for three years the vengeful King Shahriyar sleeps with a different virgin, executing her next morning. To end this brutal pattern and to save her own life, the vizier's daughter, Shahrazad, begins to tell the king tales of adventure, love, riches and wonder - tales of mystical lands peopled with princes and hunchbacks, the Angel of Death and magical spirits, tales of the voyages of Sindbad, of Ali Baba's outwitting a band of forty thieves and of jinnis trapped in rings and in lamps. The sequence of stories will last 1,001 nights.
About the Author
, sometime Sir Thomas Adams's Professor of Arabic at the University of Cambridge and a life Fellow of Pembroke College, Cambridge, is a specialist in the field of classical Arabic literature. His published works include the biography Saladin, the Politics of the Holy War, The Arabian Epic, Identification and Identity in Classical Arabic Poetry and many articles on Arabic literature.
Ursula Lyons, formerly an Affiliated Lecturer at the Faculty of Oriental Studies at Cambridge University and, since 1976, an Emeritus Fellow of Lucy Cavendish College, Cambridge, specializes in modern Arabic literature.
Robert Irwin is the author of For Lust of Knowing: The Orientalists and Their Enemies, The Middle East in the Middle Ages, The Arabian Nights: A Companion and numerous other specialized studies of Middle Eastern politics, art and mysticism. His novels include The Limits of Vision, The Arabian Nightmare, The Mysteries of Algiers and Satan Wants Me.