The Annotated Arabian Nights
Yasmine Seale, Paulo Lemos Horta, Paulo Lemos Horta, Omar El Akkad, Robert Irwin
Starting in 1999 with the publication of The Definitive Annotated Alice, the Norton and Liveright annotated books have become the leading series of classic, illustrated works in the English language. The long-anticipated publication of The Annotated Arabian Nights extends this tradition with a strikingly modern translation-the first of Shahrazad’s tales into English by a woman-as well as erudite notes that will illuminate the stories for both dedicated readers and newcomers. Yasmine Seale’s translations from both Arabic and French capture the musicality and rhythm of the Nights’ poetry and prose, while Paulo Lemos Horta’s annotations wrestle with the extraordinarily complex origins and history of the stories, showing that, far from being inventions of French antiquarians or English explorers, they have clear antecedents in Arabic folklore and tradition. This stunningly illustrated edition selects core stories as well as treasured later additions such as “Aladdin” and “Ali Baba” to offer an unparalleled account of a cornerstone of world literature that can be treasured by children, students and literature-lovers alike.
"[A] gorgeous illustrated volume... On display again is the spectacular panoply of storytelling, from tales of magic and wonder to murder mysteries to instructional fables to sexual burlesques. But also contained in this heaping volume is the history of how the tales coalesced, a story every bit as intricate and engrossing as those that enchanted the mad king... Ms. Seale and Mr. Horta have produced a book that is true to the bounty and profusion of this gloriously mongrel collection... balance is everywhere in The Annotated Arabian Nights, which seeks to 'reclaim' the tales from the most extreme effects of European imperialism, yet does so without the censorious feeling of exclusion or expulsion." -- Sam Sacks - The Wall Street Journal "[A] 700-page equivalent of Aladdin's Cave of Wonders... redresses the 19th-century's Orientalizing bent and occasional racism, while also reminding us that women, and not just Scheherazade, are at the heart of these wonderful stories... This is one present that anybody would be thrilled to open." -- Michael Dirda - The Washington Post "[Q]uietly momentous... new readings can bring to light fresh meanings-and enduring truths. In 2017 Emily Wilson managed that in a new translation of Homer's 'Odyssey,' the first by a woman to be published in English. The new 'Arabian Nights'-a selection from a complete edition in the making-does the same... [Ms. Seale's] proficiency in Arabic, English and French, along with her poet's ear, have yielded a lyrical and accessible new text. Mr. Horta contributes annotations that give context to her choices, and has selected hundreds of illustrations that let readers travel visually through the tales and their history." -- The Economist
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