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A paperback reprint in two volumes of the oldest preserved manuscript of 'The Thousand and One Nights' kept in the Bibliotheque Nationale de France in Paris.
A translation based on a reconstruction of the earliest extant manuscript version of the famous tales offers the stories told by the Princess Shahrazad under the threat of death if she ceases to amuse.
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
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
The tales told by Shahrazad over a thousand and one nights to delay her execution by the vengeful King Shahriyar have become among the most popular in both Eastern and Western literature. From the epic adventures of 'Aladdin and the Enchanted Lamp' to the farcical 'Young Woman and her Five Lovers' and the social criticism of 'The Tale of the Hunchback', the stories depict a fabulous world of all-powerful sorcerers, jinns imprisoned in bottles and enchanting princesses. But despite their imaginative extravagance, the Tales are anchored to everyday life by their realism, providing a full and intimate record of medieval Islam.

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