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Tales From the 1001 Nights
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Tales From the 1001 Nights

3.89 of 5 stars 3.89  ·  rating details  ·  1,711 ratings  ·  170 reviews
During ancient times, a king discovers that his wife is unfaithful. He executes her and her lover, and to ensure that he is never again betrayed, he takes a new wife each night and kills her in the morning. Eventually, he takes as his bride for the night a young woman who tells him a story that lasts all night long. When morning comes and she is to be killed, the story is ...more
Paperback, 469 pages
Published January 1st 2006 by Borders Classics (first published 800)
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As I say in my review, I wanted to write a parody of this wonderful book but was forced to admit defeat. Burton is too damn clever for a good parody to be possible. During my preliminary negotiations, I had however received a remarkable offer from Alfonso. A Burton parody without political incorrectness is unthinkable, and Alfonso bravely put himself forward to play the role of an evil blackamoor of hideous appearance.

It seems wrong that Alfonso's selfless devotion to literature should go unrew
Henry Martin
The Tales from the Arabian Nights is probably the finest example of what a magical narrative should be. If I had to categorize this collection of tales, I would not call them fairy tales, but rather magical tales.

Since almost everyone is familiar with the premise behind these stories, I shall not go into detail concerning the backdrop for this fine collection. Rather, I shall express my opinion about them.

Aside from the impact these tales (once introduced in Europe) had on the western literary
The origin of my desire to read the tales of The Arabian Nights came from reading another novel that I was actually Ill-equipped to tackle: John Barth's Chimera, a satire of tales and mythology that I'd either never read or barely remembered. However, that did not stop me from thoroughly enjoying the back story he created for Scheherazade.

And so, I set out to read some of these tales, and lo, there are some wild ones. The language is especially interesting, exquisitely complete, sometimes cruel
 Danielle The Book Huntress (Self-Proclaimed Book Ninja)
Great book. Not one that can be read in one sitting, though. I really like the form of narrative, with a story leading into or encompassing another story. Most of this book is like onion layers. You really do want to have a bookmark handy if you put this one down. This was Scheherazade's tactic to keep King Shahryar's attention so that he couldn't have her executed the next morning. He was a very insane man who hated women to the degree that he would marry a virgin and have her killed the next m ...more
[Name Redacted]
Sir Richard Francis Burton is an odd duck. He is often accused of inserting his "modern" Western prejudices into his work, and he does, but nowhere near the extent to which he is accused. FACT: Islamic cultures, like most cultures in the world, are openly and unabashedly racist, sexist and xenophobic. As a result, like much of our own, much of their great literature contains these elements in spades (Shylocke or Othello, anyone?). What is more, many of these stories did not originate within the ...more
Tales incomparably imaginative, wildly entertaining and fun!

I think these stories are best described as literary grunge. In nearly every aspect of their subjects and telling they defy the established order. Historically, the Arabic canon denounced The Tales because of their vulgar components. Neatly wrapped in Shahrazad's mission to save the virgin girls of Shahriyar's kingdom, these stories profess powerful jinnees, laymen rising to power which would humble royalty, men becoming beasts and seaf
Martin Garrod
This review is of the translation by N.J. Dawood published by Penguin as ISBN 978-0-14-044289-2

I cannot recommend this as a book to buy unless you want to read it to young children. If you really want to try it get it from the library or borrow it from a friend.

The framing device is well known - King Shahriyar is deceived by his wife and after killing her he takes revenge on women in general by taking a new bride each day and killing her in the morning. In time, the Vizier's daughter Shahrazad,
I've had the hots for Toby Stephens ever since I saw his portrayal of Rochester descriptionin the 2006 BBC version of Jane Eyre. So when I realized he was narrating this book, I jumped at the chance to listen to it.

This is an abridged version of the "One Thousand and One Nights" so it only contains 4 of the most known tales (Aladdin, Ali Baba, Sinbad, etc.) I've never read the stories and was a bit surprised that they were not AT ALL like their Disney counterpart (don't know why I should have been!) The ch
Theophilus (Theo)
Adventurous, romantic storytelling in the tradition of Epic of Gilgamesh. All of the characters from the movie versions, but in their original wonderful settings. A good bedside read. No nightmares here, just a contented sigh after finishing a chapter. Sheherazade offers to sacrifice herself to save her fellow countrywomen from the clutches of a grieving sultan, gone mad over the deception played upon him by the wife he adored. He puts her to death and vows to marry another woman every day until ...more
Seek not thy happiness to steal
'Tis work alone will bring thee weal
Who seeketh bliss without toil or strife
The impossible seeketh and wasteth life.

Happiness must be earned.

And that, in a nutshell, sums up this magnificent collection of Arabian and Persian folk tales from the great explorer, translator, and risk-taker, Sir Richard Francis Burton. The supreme badass of the Victorian Age.

As a reader, I am lucky enough to own the scarlet leather bound edition, which proudly maintains its hierarc
Well, this is a bizarre, eclectic book. The conceit of Sherzade having to tell a sufficiently compelling ongoing story to keep alive from day to day leads initially to a fascinating set of nested stories--tales within tales within tales--but the frame eventually recedes and vanishes until getting a perfuntory nod at the end, with an array if different tales with little to connect them emerging as the focus. what is bizarre is that even some of the individual tales have few, if any, connections b ...more
This was by far, hands down, without question, and no doubt the worst reading experience ever in my life. So awful, indeed, that I'm convinced it can never be surpassed. The only reason I suffered myself through the 1,836 pages (!!!) across the three volumes is because, combined, it is #6 on the 1,001 Books to Read Before You Die list. I committed myself, so I had to do it. Otherwise, I would never have dreamed (nightmared?) to put myself through such torture. There was nothing interesting here, ...more
There is a summer kiddie-fest going on at my local Crossword bookstore and this little beauty (at a superb price, might I add) called out to me.

Tales from the Arabian Nights is something that we grew up with and promptly forgot as time passed by. Delving back into the world of wily princesses, foolhardy heroes, greedy barbers, enchanted horses and our trusty old favourites Aladdin and Sinbad was so much fun. Generously peppered with intricate artwork, the book was filled with myth, fantasy, hi
You probably know the story. The king's wife cheats on him so he kills her then decides to marry a new girl every night, kill her in the morning so she can't cheat on him, marry a new girl that night and so on and so forth. Until Scheherazade volunteers to marry him (for his personality, I imagine) and entrances him every night with her story telling so that he'll spare her to hear more stories the next night until he decides to give up the whole murdering girls thing and settles down with Scheh ...more
Christopher Rush
This fine but odd collection of stories from a long-forgotten book club edition was a nice introductory trip to Arabian Nights land for my five-year-old daughter, though I had to edit some of the language and content for her as I read it to her at bedtimes. It tells you effectively nothing about the frame story uniting all the stories, and the choice of which stories are in here may baffle some of you who are more knowledgeable about the unabridged work (i.e., no Aladdin or Sinbad, but Ali Baba ...more
Jenna  Nov
I seriously enjoyed this book despite the fact that it took me roughly two months to complete it.

Reasons to Read This Book:

•There are plenty of obsolete vocabulary words that a writing style that are actually very intriguing.
•This is a great novel to subconsciously learn about the Muslim culture. Though the "Tales" are are fairly similar to those of the Brother's Grimm, they highlight the Middle Eastern way of life which obviously includes Allah. There are many Muslim traditions and values th
This edition is of course, far from complete - Burton's complete work comprises 10 volumes and 6 supplemental volumes (see also Wikipedia).

This knowledge, however, does not detract from the book. I don't think I would have the patience or desire to read 16 volumes of these stories.

This book is not a quick read, however. The translation is from the 1850's, and the language used is a bit archaic even for that period. It appears that Burton was trying to make the tales seem ancient by using (and oc
Alex Richmond
I am not sure how to explain this book, I like most of the stories, but others bothered me some, and most where 40+ pages long with no break or stopping point to rest on. One of the first stories has a man beating his wife because she was out of place, and one of the last stories had a women covert to Islam and kill her father and bring his head to her new husband because he would not.

The book is a collection of stories told by Scheherazade to her husband, the sultan. She tells him the stories t
Ken Bickley
Fairy tales they are, but not just for children! Andrew Lang's 1898 translation (this one) is not nearly as sensual as Burton's earlier one, allowing the wonder of the stories to shine through. It's worth this trip back to those long-ago days when, as Pete Hamill says in the afterword, television had not yet "scrambled and coarsened the imagination of American children". Read it with that thought in mind, and enjoy again Sinbad the Sailor, Ali Baba, and the real Aladdin. (Forget the Disney versi ...more
Saskia Marijke Niehorster-Cook
Sweet rendering of the many tales (though not all the one thousand and one nights) of Shahrazad to her cruel husband who so far marries a virgin each night only to behead her in the morning. This is the tale of an intelligent and ingenuous woman who uses her gift of lore and story telling to entice a cruel man to let her live just one more night if only to know the ending of a story through out a thousand and one nights. A total of two and a half years of story telling! She even bears him childr ...more
Dec 30, 2011 Donna rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those who like short tales of the days or yore
Recommended to Donna by: my husband
A friend of mine, who claims to be a feminist, criticised this book as being anti-feminist and offensive to modern women. When I asked her to explain why, she told me that it shows women to be the reason for the downfall of men.

Having now read this book myself, I can say that I completely disagree with my friend. In fact, I would even go as far as saying that this book is pro-feminism. At it's heart is the story of a woman who wins a man's heart through her wit and intelligence - not through fla
Note: I'm reviewing the edition edited by Andrew Lang, which I read at

This is obviously a classic and deserves respect for that. Some of the stories are quite entertaining in their own right. However, the reader needs to be warned that the book is likely to leave you with the feeling that it could have benefited from some more editing. I've given it 4 stars for the best stories, but some I would have individually given only 1 star.

I understand the reluctance to alter traditional t
Lisa (Harmonybites)
Apr 23, 2010 Lisa (Harmonybites) rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Lisa (Harmonybites) by: Good Reading: 100 Significant Books
This is a compilation of tales of jinn and sorcerers and bold adventures come from India, Persia, Arabia, Egypt and Mesopotamia. They're framed as being told by Scheherazade, the newest bride of Shahryār, a ruler who after finding his first wife committed adultery had been killing a succession of wives after their wedding night. Scheherazade tells her husband a new tale every night, breaking off at dawn unfinished and thus postponing her execution another day. The entertainment continues for 1,0 ...more
Lady K

Cet album est une petite perle, autant pour les contes que pour les illustrations. François Roca nous offre de sublimes dessins tandis que Gudule nous conte des histoires enchanteresses. C’est un vrai plaisir pour les yeux et les neurones.

Les neuf récits contenus dans cet album sont dépaysants et très variés. On y rencontre un prince changé en singe, un cadavre qui cause bien du souci aux vivants, un mari méfiant qui se fait duper par sa femme, un calife t
When I got the pick of my mother's books when she needed to get rid of them as she was emigrating, the reason I picked Tales from the Thousand and One Nights was twofold. First of all I was of the opinion that I ought to have read at least part of one of the great, classical literary influences, both on the literature I studied at university and on my beloved speculative genre. Second of all, I had bought Anthony O'Neill's Scheherazade, a retelling of the story of Scheherazade, a few months earl ...more
We are all like Scheherazade's husband, in that we want to know what happens next. - E.M. Forster

this audiobook begins with a brief introduction on how the tales from a thousand and one nights came about. then, a selection of four stories (Aladdin and the Magic Lamp, Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves, The Seven Voyages of Sinbad the Sailor and The Story of the Blind Baba-Abdalla) are presented. when it ends, we get to learn what fate has in store for Scheherazade when her nights of storytelling are
I wanted to read this because when I was 10 and reading "The Lives of Christopher Chant" by Diana Wynnie Jones, Arabian Nights was what the boys in the boarding school in that story were reading and imagining the fun and adventure.
For the most part, I did enjoy reading this, but it wasn't an easy or relaxing read. Aside from being unfamiliar with the culture and themes, the writing style isn't especially engaging; I'm not sure if that's because it's a translation or not.

Common themes across al
I think that I would have enjoyed this book a lot more if I had read it in a classroom setting; where the teacher is telling you all about the interesting stuff of the time period to make everything tie together and make sense. Alas, I read it on my own in breif intervals that made the book drag on for almost 4 months. However, in my defense, when I decide to read the last 170 pages quickly, it was impossible for me. I litterally could only read 10 pages in a sitting or I would be lost in other ...more
The Arabian Nights is about Sheherezade, the Grand Vizier's daughter, marrying the king for a day. The king marries a woman each day because his wife cheated on him and he had stabbed a dagger into her heart. Sheherezade then tells stories to the king about wisdom, courage, foolishness, and pride. For a thousand days, Sheherezade had been telling the king tales and now she had ran out of tales to tell. The king decided to marry Sheherezade and commanded Sheherezade to tell the tales once more.

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Middle East/North...: 1st Medieval Arabic Read - The Arabian Nights 24 69 Oct 01, 2013 10:30AM  
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Holy Bible: King James Version The Arabian Nights Holy Bible: New International Version The Epic of Gilgamesh The Quran

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