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Now as sumptuously packaged as they are critically acclaimed—a new deluxe trade paperback edition of the beloved stories. The stories of ?The Arabian Nights ?(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 translation is of the complete text of the Mahdi edition, the definitive Arabic edition of a fourteenth-century Syrian manuscript, which is the oldest surviving version of the tales and considered to be the most authentic.
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 'Superlative...just the sort of relaxed, informative book that Edmund Wilson might have written had he grown interested in the Middle East and its early literature.' - Michael Dirda, Washington Post 'Irwin organizes his material like a good storyteller...he gives us the crystallized sum of The Nights: ancedote, history, moral fable, aphorism, story after story, wonder upon wonder. This monumental, infinitely faceted gem should be every writer's bedtime sampler.' - Michael Moorcock, New Statesman & Society 'A work both learned and witty...Robert Irwin has wonderfully deepened the pleasures and the interest in reading The Arabian Nights as a supreme work of imaginative fiction.' - Marina Warner,TLS
Arabian Nights is a collection of Middle Eastern and South Asian stories and folk tales compiled in Arabic during the Islamic Golden Age. The tales themselves trace their roots back to ancient and medieval Arabic, Persian, Indian, Turkish, Egyptian and Mesopotamian folklore and literature. Some of the stories of The Nights, particularly "Aladdin's Wonderful Lamp", "Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves" and "The Seven Voyages of Sinbad the Sailor", while almost certainly genuine Middle-Eastern folk tales. The tales vary widely: they include historical tales, love stories, tragedies, comedies, poems. Numerous stories depict Jinns, Ghouls, Apes,[5] sorcerers, magicians, and legendary places, which are often intermingled with real people and geography, not always rationally. The narrator's standards for what constitutes a cliffhanger seem broader than in modern literature. While in many cases a story is cut off with the hero in danger of losing his life or another kind of deep trouble.
The most comprehensive treatment of the Arabian Nights ever published, with more than 800 detailed encyclopedic entries and a wealth of authoritative essays and resources. * Includes 800+ encyclopedic entries covering all aspects of the Arabian Nights * Begins with a fascinating introduction and a variety of essays by renowned scholars, presenting areas of pivotal interest and concern * Includes a concordance of tales in different editions and translations * Provides an extensive bibliography, featuring reference works published in English and other languages
An authoritative guide to research inspired by the Arabian Nights, containing sixteen influential essays.

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