Having just re-read this book i'm reminded how the flowery wording and a hint of "eastern promise" manages to white wash over the actual issues of the story. Sheharezade is actually technically being kept hostage with a death penalty hanging over her head, forced to spin yarns to save not only her skin but that of all the other virgins in the vicinty. Her tales touch on marital rape, mass murder, theft, deception, fratricide, regicide, racism and necromancy. And you all thought American Psycho was bad?? It's amazing what you can get past the critics when you flower it up a little and add a little middle eastern frou frou. Anyway, i digress...overall an epic book and easy to see why Burtons translation scandalised the purse-lipped puritans of 19th century England.
If anyone wants to read more about or by Burton then try his Narrative of pilgrimage to Mecca and Al-Medina (vols 1 and 2)or for a different perspective try the Wilder Shores of Love by Lesley Blanche which includes a short biography of Burtons wife, Isabel (man trap) Burton. Alternatively watch Rupert Everetts genius TV biography of Burton which was produced for the BBC. It's worth it just for the bit with nuns!