The Arabian Nights.

By Amabel Williams-Ellis

Printed: 1976

Publisher: Blackie & Son. London

Dimensions 16 × 22 × 3.5 cm

Language: English

Size (cminches): 16 x 22 x 3.5

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In the original dustsheet. Black cloth binding with gilt title on the spine.

F.B.A. provides an in-depth photographic presentation of this item to stimulate your feeling and touch. More traditional book descriptions are immediately available.

This is a lovely book, well presented, and full of good reads.

One Thousand and One Nights is a collection of Middle Eastern 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 (c. 1706–1721), which rendered the title as The Arabian Nights’ Entertainment.

The work was collected over many centuries by various authors, translators, and scholars across West Asia, Central Asia, South Asia, and North Africa. Some tales trace their roots back to ancient and medieval Arabic, Egyptian, Sanskrit, Persian, and Mesopotamian literature. Many tales were originally folk stories from the Abbasid and Mamluk eras, while others, especially the frame story, are most probably drawn from the Pahlavi Persian work Hezār Afsān (Persian: lit. A Thousand Tales), which in turn relied partly on Indian elements.

Common to all the editions of the Nights is the framing device of the story of the ruler Shahryār being narrated the tales by his wife Scheherazade, with one tale told over each night of storytelling. The stories proceed from this original tale; some are framed within other tales, while some are self-contained. Some editions contain only a few hundred stories, while others include 1001 or more. 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.

Some of the stories commonly associated with the Arabian Nights—particularly “Aladdin’s Wonderful Lamp” and “Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves“—were not part of the collection in its original Arabic versions but were added to the collection by Antoine Galland after he heard them from the Syrian Maronite Christian storyteller Hanna Diab on Diab’s visit to Paris. Other stories, such as “The Seven Voyages of Sinbad the Sailor“, had an independent existence before being added to the collection.

Amabel Williams-Ellis (Mary Annabel Nassau Strachey; 10 May 1894 – 27 August 1984) was an English writer, critic, and early member of the Bloomsbury Group. As well as her own writings, Williams-Ellis was a prolific editor, translator, and anthologist, compiling collections of fairy stories, folk tales, and science fiction.

The Bloomsbury Group—or Bloomsbury Set—was a group of associated English writers, intellectuals, philosophers, and artists in the first half of the 20th century, including Virginia WoolfJohn Maynard KeynesE. M. Forster and Lytton Strachey. This loose collective of friends and relatives was closely associated with the University of Cambridge for the men and King’s College London for the women, and they lived, worked, or studied together near Bloomsbury, London. According to Ian Ousby, “although its members denied being a group in any formal sense, they were united by an abiding belief in the importance of the arts.” Their works and outlook deeply influenced literatureaestheticscriticism, and economics as well as modern attitudes towards feminismpacifism, and sexuality. A well-known quote, attributed to Dorothy Parker, is “they lived in squares, painted in circles and loved in triangles”.

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