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The Arabian Nights

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4.03  ·  Rating details ·  73,195 ratings  ·  1,803 reviews
This volume reproduces the 1932 Modern Library edition, for which Bennett A. Cerf chose the most famous and representative stories from Sir Richard F. Burton's multivolume translation, and includes Burton's extensive and acclaimed explanatory notes.

The tales of told by Shahrazad over a thousand and one nights to delay her execution by the vengeful King Shahriyar have beco
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Paperback, Abridged; Modern Library Edition, 1049 pages
Published June 1st 2004 by Modern Library (first published 800)
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Cibele Andrade The original 1001 Nights (or the compilations of it) are not what I would call children fairy tales. At least, i wouldn't give them to a child to read…moreThe original 1001 Nights (or the compilations of it) are not what I would call children fairy tales. At least, i wouldn't give them to a child to read. You should give them a try. =)(less)
Tobias If you're feeling adventurous and don't mind archaic English, have a go at Burton. It's hilarious and quite charming in its own way, but not at all re…moreIf you're feeling adventurous and don't mind archaic English, have a go at Burton. It's hilarious and quite charming in its own way, but not at all representative of the Arabic since he emphasizes racism, sexism, and a bunch of other things in his own verbose way.
Haddawy's translation is a more scholarly one. In fact, it is translated into English from the Syrian 'Mahdi'-manuscript, which is the oldest surviving (substantial) material, and it is probably the closest thing we'll ever get to a somewhat stable 'original' of the 1001 Nights. However, this version only includes about 30-something tales.
I have been enjoying Malcolm Lyons' translation lately. It is the first complete English translation from the Calcutta II manuscript since Burton, and it reads very smoothly.(less)

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Petra-X Off having adventures
When I was a little girl my grandmother gave me a big, blue, cloth bound edition of this book. It had the most exquisite coloured plates protected by tissue paper interleaved with the printed sheets. It was the perfect storybook for a bookish, fanciful child living in an abusive home. I spent a year reading this book. Every night I would read it and disappear from all the fear and unpleasantness around me into this realm of people in exotic clothes who could do magic. I cherished the book. I too ...more
Manny
Ah, if only I could write like the late Sir Richard Burton! Normally I dislike translations, but to refuse to read The Arabian Nights on those grounds would be like refusing to read the Bible. I love parodying people's styles, and I have tried my utmost to parody Burton convincingly, but I can't do it. He's too clever. He has taken this unique book, a miraculous survival from the most ancient antiquity, and he has created a unique language to make it accessible to us: the backbone is a kind of S ...more
Ahmad Sharabiani
(996 From 1001 Books) - The Thousand and One Nights, Anonymous

The work was collected over many centuries by various authors, translators, and scholars across West, Central, and South Asia and North Africa.

The tales themselves trace their roots back to ancient and medieval Arabic, Greek, Indian, Jewish, Persian and Turkish folklore and literature. In particular, many tales were originally folk stories from the Abbasid era, while others, especially the frame story, are most probably drawn from th
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JG (Introverted Reader)
For those 2 people who don't know, The Arabian Nights is sort of a collection of short stories told in the Arabian world, as I'm told it should be called, (which seems to include India and parts of China) waaaaaay back in the day. The framework of the story is about a sultan who caught his wife cheating on him. After he has her killed, he decides to take out his revenge on the entire sex, so he marries a different wife every day and has her killed the next morning. Scheherazade is the Grand Vizi ...more
Michael Finocchiaro
Arabian Nights is one of the great literary works of all time but precautions need to be made if you want to read it to your kids. First off, there is a LOT of violence in the stories and a TON of sex. Don't be an idiot like me and start reading an unabridged copy to your kids or you will have to be explaining very early on why so and so killed his wife and imprisoned another...
That being said, there are few works with as much imagination and wonder in them and taken in lighter doses, it is a be
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Claudia
Feb 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A review is pointless for this book. It’s a classic and everyone should read it. Those who are complaining about how women are treated in the stories should read it more carefully and should pay attention also when it was first written.

Reading this edition, two things amazed me: how well I remember all the stories, taking into consideration that last time I read them was more than 20 years ago and second, how accurate the Romanian translation I read is compared to this one.

As for this edition,
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Jan-Maat
As a child I had a small selection of tales from the Arabian nights in a hardback volume with a few gorgeous full colour plates. From this a couple of stories stayed with me, a Sultan travelling in disguise meets a man who having learnt of the Sultan's weakness for baby cucumbers was intent on trying to fool him out of a fortune in exchange for them, the man although greedy is also garrulous, tells the Sultan in disguise his wicked plans enabling the Sultan to turn the tables on him and trick hi ...more
Manny
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
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Vit Babenco
Sep 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
When I first read One Thousand and One Nights I was literally put under the book’s spell – charmed, enchanted and bewitched. It isn’t just magic of fairytales. It is first of all magic of the oriental world. And of course I was at once mesmerized with the incredible frame tale of Shahryar and Scheherazade.
Nowhere is so much magic as in Arabian Nights: magical word opening the cave door: “‘Open, Sesame!’ And forthwith appeared a wide doorway in the face of the rock. The robbers went in, and last
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W
Nov 25, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: classics
In Urdu,this is called Alif Laila.These are familiar stories which enthralled me in my childhood.Also adapted as countless TV episodes and movies.

Fondly recall Pakistan television's series Alif Laila from the 1980s,which though made on a shoestring budget was great fun.

King Sheharyar takes a new wife each day and executes her the next day.The beautiful Sheherzade agrees to be his wife to stop him.

She tells him a story,and then another and still another.The king is so engrossed that he does not k
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K.D. Absolutely
Jul 18, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to K.D. by: 501 Must Read Books; 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die
Oh, the wonders of literature! While reading this book I could not help but sing the songs or hum the tunes associated with the tales:
♪♫♪ A whole new world
A new fantastic point of view
No one to tell us no
Or where to go
Or say we're only dreaming ♪♫♪
I grew up with mostly Filipino komiks around me. Only my father loved reading books and we had very few (compared to what I have now) classics and contemporary books at home. My parents did not read to me when I was young. Those are the reasons why
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Sidharth Vardhan
A Story to Save a Live

The beauty of the stories and the poetry of the thought that most destructive demons can be tamed back with a few stories was fascinating to me even when I first saw the serialized version on tv. What I didn’t realized was that the stories Scheherazade, that great goddess of story tellers and inventor of cliff-hangings, told the king weren’t as random but had an order in themselves.

This book has made Scherzade my favorite superhero – superhero was the word we use for o
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Destiny Dawn Long
This edition is a translation of the first 271 nights from the "1001 Nights" cycle.

One of my favorite aspects of this work is the role of Shahrazad. While many people discuss that she is telling the stories to save her own life, what people fail to recognize many times is that, really, she volunteers to be placed in the position in order to save her kingdom. She's a great literary heroine--saving the world through storytelling.

It also provides a great lens into a world that today is depicted i
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Madeline
Aug 26, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, the-list
I am planning to read through this whole book someday, I swear. But it's going to be a slow process. Here, in list form, are the reasons I may or may not finish The Arabian Nights.

Reasons I May Finish This Ridiculously Long Book:
-Scheherazade (or whichever of the twenty ways to spell her name you prefer) is kind of a badass genius. Since her father is the king's vizier, she gets exempted from said batshit crazy king's plan to marry and then kill every single available virgin in the city. But she
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Erik
Nov 27, 2009 rated it it was ok
I really need a 2.5 stars option, though I would end up using it on three-fourths of everything. As a generic, I can neither recommend nor disavow this book.

Okay so the beloved Arabian Nights, tales from a thousand and one nights. I should start with what this is NOT. This is not a linear story about a princess telling stories to a king. This is not a children's read involving genies, magic, and cyclopi (I refuse to spell this any other way, no matter the red line beneath it). This IS a collecti
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Alex
May 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What you thought was the Arabian Nights was more likely Richard Burton's bastardized, inflated 19th-century adaptation, which was as much about Richard Burton (and his weird ideas about sex) as it was about Arabia.

Which is sortof neither here nor there; there is no canonical version of Arabian Nights anyway. It's just an umbrella term for, basically, all of the Middle East's favorite stories. And if the version that heavily influenced guys like Borges was Burton's, isn't Burton's version the on
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✨Bean's Books✨
Masterfully written!
The Sultan Schahriar had the most beautiful wife. But when he found her dishonoring him in the worst way he has no choice but to put her to death. To ensure that this blasphemy will never happen to him again every night he takes on a new bride and every morning the bride is ordered killed by the grand vizier. But one day the grand vizier's eldest daughter comes to him and tells him that she has a plan to get the sultan to stop murdering young women. But the catch is she has t
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Shovelmonkey1
Jun 21, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: djinn, princess, enchanted fish and mermaids everywhere
Recommended to Shovelmonkey1 by: 1001 books list and a love of all things from the orient
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 w ...more
Shirley Revill
Aug 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
I have read this book a few times over the years and I believe I was about thirteen the first time I read this book. A wonderful classic tale. Pure nostalgia.
Valérie
The fairy tales from the Arabian world go from Aladdin to Sinbad. It's unique to dive into such a world - where flying carpets and magic lamps make the present better. ...more
Ana Mardoll
Dec 27, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ana-reviewed
The Arabian Nights / 0-486-22289-6

I'm a bit of an "Thousand Nights" enthusiast -- I enjoy the stories immensely and I have four separate translations in my personal library. Several friends have asked me to discuss the differences between the editions, so I thought I'd present a four-way comparison and then talk about which version is best for which audience.

For the purposes of the four-way comparison, I will draw text from the opening tale of the two kingly brothers in order to highlight how e
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Terry
Aug 30, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“Shahrazad turned to King Shahrayar and said, ‘May I have your permission to tell a story?’ He replied, ‘Yes,’ and Shahrazad was very happy and said, “Listen”:

Of all of the world’s story collections, surely The Arabian Nights has the best framing device—the best fictional pretext by which to justify the telling of the other stories. I mean the story of Shahrazad (as this text transliterates her name), the daughter of the vizier to King Shahrayar. Bitter over his first wife’s betrayal, Shahrayar
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Diba
Aug 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Although I simply have problem with the title, since it should be One thousand and one night, the translation of Burton is worthy to read and also should be praised to introduce such a masterpiece to Western literature. Not only do these stories depict cultural and social codes of Middle East and centra Asia, but also they convey how morality and wisdom were respected in these societies. As we are living in an era that most people are biased about their originality and are focused on the small w ...more
Ali
Jan 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this the second time around, and maybe even more so as I've matured. I have my favourite ones, but not enough to begin listing them as they all kept my interest much like they withheld the King's.

They were short and full of adventure. I felt like I was able to inject myself in them as if I were one of the characters, or at least watching at a close distance as the stories unfolded.

My plan was to read one per night before bed, but again, I enjoyed the stories so much I wanted t
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Ellinor
Apr 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I listened to this on audio and it took me 8-9 months to complete it. I was surprised of quite a few things:

1. Here you have the first cliffhanger in history (well, I knew that before, but it was still surprising how early in history this method had been invented). At the same time the method of a story within a story (and often within another stroy) is used, also probably for the first time ever.

2. We think we know many of the tales mentioned but in fact we hardly do: The stories we best know
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Clay Davis
Jun 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book has stories with an amazing sense of wonder.
Melanti
These stories were so much funnier and bawdier than I was expecting! I was expecting more adventurous stories - more akin to what I know of "Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves" - yet a large number of these stories featured rather licentious women! It wasn't something I was expecting out of a set of stories being told by a woman to a man who was obsessed with the idea of unfaithful wives!

This particular edition is based off the core set of tales compiled by Muhsin Mahdi which reflect only the stori
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Sharyl
Jun 07, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015-reads
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 crue
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Calzean
There are stories within stories. Wives who turn their husband/lovers into animals who reap their revenge, remarry beautiful princesses who have fled a lecherous uncle who is really an evil spirit who is hiding from a witch who once was married to a Sultan who had many wives who all had affairs and many heads were cut off. The one thing I found hard to understand was that some of the stories were often only a page or so. SO how did this story telling last the whole night? Methinks there was more ...more
Alexis  (TheSlothReader)
There were some stories I really loved. unfortunately all the ones that I didn't love just kind of all run together. however anyone looking to read this should definitely listen to it audibly. it makes it so much more interesting. ...more
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Books can be attributed to "Anonymous" for several reasons:

* They are officially published under that name
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* They are religious texts not generally attributed to a specific author

Books whose authorship is merely uncertain should be attributed to Unknown.
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