Lane's extensive annotations about Muslim life were subsequently extracted and published as a separate volume, , still in print today (as you can see from the illustration above).Burton, no great fan of the prudish reserve of Lane's translation, put their value more simply: "The traveller who adds Lane's notes to mine will know more about the Moslem East than many a man who has spent half his life there ..."On the minus side of the exchequer, Lane's prose is rather Latinate and heavy, and he does leave out a vast amount of material - sometimes because he considered it too , but other tales were dropped simply because he regarded them as repetitive or tedious: subjective judgements at the best of times.into English, despite the bewildering number of selections, retellings, adaptations and other attempts at a solution to the problematic nature of the book itself which have appeared over the past couple of centuries. With the appearance of this new, complete Penguin translation by Malcolm C.
For this reason, his text is little read today, though it has had almost as great an influence as Galland's on subsequent bowdlerised retellings for children (Andrew Lang's included).
Lane's is the last version of the which could be called at all suitable for children.
Arabian Nights Entertainments: Consisting of One Thousand and One Stories, Told by the Sultaness of the Indies, to divert the Sultan from the Execution of a bloody Vow he had made to marry a Lady every day, and have her cut off next Morning, to avenge himself for the Disloyalty of his first Sultaness, &c.
Containing a better Account of the Customs, Manners, and Religion of the Eastern Nations, viz. Galland of the Royal Academy, and now done into English from the last Paris Edition into Europe, Galland's maddeningly elegant, terrifyingly eclectic French adaptation / translation / transformation, which came out in 12 volumes between 17.
All this erudition is on display in the copious notes to his many volumes.
He was also a cranky eccentric, obsessed with "unmentionable" subjects such as female circumcision, castration, bestiality and (above all) male homosexuality, and lavished information on these topics through his notes and the immense "Terminal Essay" which occupies most of the tenth volume of his immense work.
The Persian , however, certainly predated the Arabic conquest, and some critics have suggested that this pre-Islamic strand is still discernible in the independent wilfulness displayed by the various Jinnis and supernatural creatures in the first few stories of the , with a frame-story something like the Scheherazade-Shahryar one we're all familiar with, extant in the Arabic language since at least the ninth century.
The earliest substantial manuscript of this collection is, however, the 14th-century Ms. As Winnie the Pooh put it, when asked to choose between having jam and honey on his bread, "Both, please, but forget about the bread." Husain Haddawy gave us a beautiful and elegant translation of Muhsin Mahdi's critical edition of the Ms. Malcolm Lyons now supplies us with the missing part of the puzzle: a complete and accurate version of the Macnaghten edition into clear, current English.
Galland (it seems a pleasing coincidence that the first translation into a European language turns out to have been made from the oldest extant manuscript). So do you want the oldest and most elaborate version: the sadly truncated and incomplete Ms. Or would you prefer the hybrid, textually dubious, but incredibly capacious Z. By my count, then, Malcolm Lyons' new 3-volumed, 2,700-page substantial translation into English - leaving aside for a moment all the innumerable abridgements and retellings.
But by far the fullest collection of stories available under the title of is represented by the various texts of Z. I thought I might list them below, along with any currently-available editions of them in print, in order to underline the significance and timeliness of Lyons' achievement.