Oct 162005

The Arabian Nights : Tales from a Thousand and One Nights (Modern Library Classics)

Currently re reading an old favourite. Tranlated by Sir Richard F Burton(the explorer not the actor), and with an introduction by A.S.Byatt

Scheherazade’s attempt to save her life and the lives of all the eligible women in the kingdom by weaving a story that would divert her husband’s rage against all women for having been cuckolded. It almost seems an allegory for the lot of women in modern days. Cajole for your rights rather than fight for it. Somethings never change.

It has all the old favourites – Ali BAba, Alladin, Sindabad, the Potter’s story etal. The kind of stuff that you used to get in Chandamama, Champak and a half a dozen hindi films.

Somehow, the versions that I read that i was a kid were more sanitised than the one I am reading now. And, I am sure that the original tales were even more bawdy and earthy and that the English translation by Sir Richard Burton was keeping in mind the sensibilities at that time – Victorian England.

The one irritating thing about this particular Modern Library edition is the complete lack of paragraph breaks.

If you don’t have an issue with online text and want to sample before you purchase – then you can get the stories here.