Jul 18, 2012
The Arabian Nights
Also known as "A Thousand and One Arabian Nights," this collection of Muslim tales is well known across the world, albeit in many different forms. Husain Haddawy, the translator of this version, includes a fascinating history of the tales and their various translations and compilations. There is no one perfect manuscript, but this translation is based on Muhsin Mahdi's edited Arabic version of a 14th Century manuscript that Haddawy considers to be the most faithful to the original stories. It's understandable that problems of inclusion and translation would arise, since they are written versions of originally oral tales. What results is a rich world into which we dive with Shahrazad as she tries to save the women of her country by telling the king a little part of a larger story each night. Admittedly, after a time, the colloquialisms start to sound trite, but so would anything repeated so many times. Truly, these touching, amazing, and weird stories were a great pleasure to read, and one can easily imagine a group of people, young and old, gathering around a storyteller to hear these fabulous tales. What a treasure, that we are able to enjoy them still.