THE BOOK OF THE
Thousand Nights and a Night
Translated by RICHARD F. BURTON
Limited to one thousand numbered sets
1885 (London "Burton Club" edition), illustrated
The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night (1885), subtitled "A Plain and Literal Translation of the Arabian Nights Entertainments", is a celebrated English language translation of "One Thousand and One Nights" (the "Arabian Nights") - a collection of Middle Eastern and South Asian stories and folk tales compiled in Arabic during the Islamic Golden Age (8th?13th centuries) - by the British explorer and Arabist Richard Francis Burton (1821-1890). It stood as the only complete translation of the Macnaghten or Calcutta II edition (Egyptian recension) of the "Arabian Nights" until 2008.
"One Thousand and One Night" (Arabic: ?????? ????? ??????? ??????????? kit?b ?alf layla wa-layla) is a collection of Middle Eastern and South Asian stories and folk tales compiled in Arabic during the Islamic Golden Age. It is often known in English as the Arabian Nights, from the first English language edition (1706), which rendered the title as The Arabian Nights' Entertainment.
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, Persian, Mesopotamian, Indian, Jewish and Egyptian folklore and literature. In particular, many tales were originally folk stories from the Caliphate era, while others, especially the frame story, are most probably drawn from the Pahlavi Persian work Haz?r Afs?n (Persian: ???? ???????, lit. A Thousand Tales) which in turn relied partly on Indian elements.
Initial frame story of the ruler Shahry?r (from Persian: ????????, meaning "king" or "sovereign") and his wife Scheherazade, (from Persian: ????????, possibly meaning "of noble lineage"), and the framing device incorporated throughout the tales themselves. The stories proceed from this original tale; some are framed within other tales, while others begin and end of their own accord. The bulk of the text is in prose, although verse is occasionally used for songs and riddles and to express heightened emotion. Most of the poems are single couplets or quatrains, although some are longer.
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