A plain and literal translation of the Arabian nights entertainments, now entituled The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night, Volume 1

Sir Richard Francis Burton

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  • EAN: 9788832564174
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This volume and its successor (Nos. i. and ii.) contain Mr. John Payne’s Tales from the Arabic; his three tomes, being included in my two. The stories are taken from the Breslau Edition where they are distributed among the volumes between Nos. iv. and xii., and from the Calcutta fragment of 1814. I can say little for the style of the story-stuff contained in this Breslau text, which has been edited with phenomenal incuriousness. Many parts are hopelessly corrupted, whilst at present we have no means of amending the commissions and of supplying the omissions by comparison with other manuscripts. The Arabic is not only faulty, but dry and jejune, comparing badly with that of the “Thousand Nights and a Night,” as it appears in the Macnaghten and the abridged Bulak Texts. Sundry of the tales are futile; the majority has little to recommend it, and not a few require a diviner rather than a translator. Yet they are valuable to students as showing the different sources and the heterogeneous materials from and of which the great Saga-book has been compounded. Some are, moreover, striking and novel, especially parts of the series entitled King Shah Bakht and his Wazir Al-Rahwan (pp. 191–355). Interesting also is the Tale of the “Ten Wazirs” (pp. 55–155), marking the transition of the Persian Bakhtiyár-Námeh into Arabic. In this text also and in this only is found Galland’s popular tale “Abou-Hassan; or, the Sleeper Awakened,” which I have entitled “The Sleeper and the Waker.”